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Future Imperfect: Our Possible Ruling Coalitions

Future Imperfect: Our Possible Ruling Coalitions

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published October 20, 2017

Maybe you can’t vote in Iceland’s upcoming elections, but you still pay taxes. Or you’re just genuinely curious about which way the country will go. In either case, you should still consider the possible ruling coalitions we could get after all the ballots are counted. These possibilities are based on current polling, so things may change drastically, and votes may not necessarily reflect the polls to the first decimal place. We can, however, make estimates within a reasonable margin of error, based on the latest polling, so let’s take a look at what we could get:

1. Leftist-Greens, Social Democrats and the Pirates.
Why?: The Leftist-Greens are polling the strongest. They’ve been in a coalition with the Social Democrats before, and while the Pirates don’t like to describe themselves as left or right, their platform is arguably leftist.
Why not?: The Leftist-Greens have a long-standing distrust, at best, for the Pirates. The Pirates have also been fiercely supportive of a new constitution, while the Leftist-Greens and Social Democrats have been more reluctant. That said, recent polling showing the vast majority of voters for all these parties want a new constitution this term may change that.
Chances: Very high.

2. Leftist-Greens, Social Democrats, and the Reform Party.
Why?: Has about the same number of seats as the previous configuration, only without the Pirates.
Why not?: The Reform Party is semi right wing, which would be unappealing to the Leftist-Greens (the Social Democrats have partnered with conservatives before), and the Reform Party’s close ties to the Independence Party may make them very unappealing to either of the other two parties.
Chances: Moderate at best.

3. Leftist-Greens and the Independence Party.
Why?: They’re the two strongest-polling parties right now, and the only two who could form a two-party coalition.
Why not?: They are so diametrically opposed to one another on the issues that one of them would need to change into the other in order for them to create a joint platform.
Chances: Nigh impossible.

4. Independence Party, the Reform Party, the Progressive Party and the Centre Party.
Why?: They’re close enough to one another on the issues, and some of them have worked together before.
Why not?: Icelanders barely accept three-party coalitions and, based on current polling, these four parties do not comprise enough seats to form a ruling coalition.
Chances: Very low.

Neither Bright Future nor the Peoples’ Party were included in this section because neither of these parties are polling high enough to win a seat.

As can be seen, the chances of a right wing government after the elections is pretty low, by virtue of the plethora of right wing parties to choose from. Meanwhile, the three parliamentary leftist parties don’t have any real contenders. As such, the left wing looks set to lead the next government almost by default. However, we should be careful about polls. Remember how well the Pirates were polling in 2016? If last year’s elections taught us anything, it’s to keep your cool and don’t rule out anything.


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