Published December 2, 2016
President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson announced just moments ago that he gave Pirate Party captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir the mandate to form Iceland’s next ruling coalition. It is therefore likely that the informal talks between the Pirate Party, the Social Democrats, the Reform Party, the Left-Greens and Bright Future will continue.
The President told reporters he met with all party leaders today. He pointed out that a mandate to the Independence Party, and later to the Left-Greens, did not produce results. Shortly thereafter, the Pirate Party, the Reform Party, the Social Democrats and Bright Future all expressed the desire to resume talks again. As such, he has given the mandate to the Pirate Party to form Iceland’s next coalition government. He added that he expects to be updated after the weekend on the progress of coalition talks.
Birgitta met with reporters shortly thereafter. She said that she hopes that all parties already involved in these informal talks, with the inclusion of the Left-Greens, will lead to a harmonious result. She emphasised that there are a number of matters that need to be addressed, and that this will require the cooperation of parties from the right to the left. She said that she will now meet with her own party members, and then continue talks with other party leaders. She added that talks have not yet reached a point where a potential new Prime Minister has been decided.
As reported, the past month has been fairly stormy when it comes to forming Iceland’s next government.
The President had originally given the mandate to form a coalition to the Independence Party. Coalition talks between the Independence Party, the Reform Party and Bright Future broke down the week before last, as they could not reach an agreement on a common platform; most notably, regarding the management of fisheries and the question of a public referendum on accession to the European Union.
Shortly thereafter, Katrín attempted to form a new coalition comprised of her party, the Pirate Party, the Social Democrats, the Reform Party and Bright Future. However, those talks broke down, as the Left-Greens and the Reform Party were having difficulties finding common ground on a number of issues, amongst them fishing management and some proposed tax increases on high income earners.
This, in turn, led to the Independence Party and the Left-Greens entering talks. Shortly thereafter, the Pirate Party, the Reform Party, the Social Democrats and Bright Future entered into informal talks of their own.
With this new mandate, there may yet be hope that a ruling coalition will be formed. If not, parliament may face a crisis the could lead to either a minority government, or the formation of a “national government”, wherein there is no ruling coalition nor opposition, but rather, all parties share power equally.