Iceland believed briefly it had become the first country in Europe to have a women-majority parliament after its election yesterday, but a recount showed it fell short, an election official has said.

Of the 63 seats in Althing parliament, 30 were won by women, or 47.6%, following the recount in one of Iceland's constituencies.

Earlier today, projections based on final results had credited women with 33 seats, or 52%. Further recounts in the coming days were not ruled out, officials said.

No European country has had more than 50% women representatives, with Sweden coming closest at 47%, according to data compiled by the World Bank.

Five other countries in the world currently have parliaments where women hold at least half the seats, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union: Rwanda (61%), Cuba (53%), Nicaragua and Mexico (both 51%) and the United Arab Emirates (50%).

Unlike some other countries, Iceland does not have legal quotas on female representation in parliament, though some parties do require a minimum number of candidates be women.

Iceland has long been a pioneer in gender equality and women's rights, and has topped the World Economic Forum's ranking of most egalitarian countries for the past 12 years.

It offers the same parental leave to both men and women, and its first law on equal pay for men and women dates back to 1961.

Iceland was the first country to elect a woman as president in 1980, and since 2018 it has had a pioneering gender-equal pay law that puts the onus on employers to prove they are paying the same wages to men and women.

Yesterday's election saw the left-right coalition government widen its majority.

However, Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir's Left Green Movement emerged weakened while her right-wing partners posted strong scores, casting doubt over her future as prime minister.

The current government, which consists of Ms Jakobsdottir's Left-Green Movement, the conservative Independence Party and the centrist-agrarian Progressive Party, said before the election that they would negotiate continued cooperation if they held their majority.

President Gudni Johannesson has yet to officially hand a mandate to the party that will be tasked with forming the next government.