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Would Gregor Robertson do this?

Reykjavík Mayor Jón Gnarr photograph from Wikipedia creative commons

So, Reykjavík elected a joke party to city council and wound up with a mayor, Jón Gnarr, who is a famous comedian in Iceland. By most accounts, the Besti flokkurinn (the Best Party) won as a big f-you to the other parties for their poor performance and lack of accountability over the past few years, most notably leading up to Iceland's economic crash in 2008.

Jón ran with a bunch of artists on promises of putting a polar bear in Reykjavík's humble zoo, free towels at swimming pools, and free bus fare "for students and losers." He won the election with 34.7 percent of vote.

The people of Reykjavík were ready for anything but the status quo, preferring a party of artists and comedians rather than the politicians who had in recent years demonstrated corruption, nepotism, and general incompetence. Several Icelandic citizens I spoke to leading up to the election said they were going to vote for the Best Party because, really, was there any better choice?

On Saturday Reykjavík held its own proud Gay Pride celebration, presided over by the mayor himself, dressed in drag, who said he was sorry Jón Gnarr couldn't be there, but that's what you get for electing a comedian as mayor.

His performance was refreshing. Despite his costume and makeup, he demonstrated a lack of artifice that most politicians, with their strictly managed image, lack. Not to mention his exuberant embrace of the spirit of Pride.

True, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson did Pride pretty proud on August 1 in his tank top and feather boa. But perhaps, in general, Vancouver politics could do with a little more playfulness a la Jón Gnarr.

More in Iceland

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