From Iceland — Elections 2016: Conservative-Led Government Likely

Elections 2016: Conservative-Led Government Likely

Published November 2, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Independence Party chairperson Bjarni Benediktsson has been called back to the President’s residency, following a round of talks where the President spoke with the chairs of every party that made it into parliament. The President will hold a press conference shortly thereafter.

Kjarninn reports that this meeting is to take place at 11:00 today. Shortly thereafter, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson will hold a press conference.

As the President met with all party chairs on Monday, speaking to some of them by phone again yesterday, Bjarni’s invitation very likely indicates that he will be given the mandate to form Iceland’s next ruling coalition.

The results of last Saturday’s elections saw the Pirate Party more than triple its numbers, but the Independence Party was nonetheless the party to win the most seats. Since then, there has been much speculation over who will lead the next government. As the Pirates have publicly declared they will not work with the Independence Party, it is unlikely the Pirates will be a part of the new coalition.

The turnout has been the worst in Icelandic history, at 79.2%.

The last Gallup poll before the elections showed the Independence Party overtaking the Pirate Party, while the Left-Greens and the Restoration Party appeared to be on their way up, as the Social Democrats and Bright Future dropped in support.

The campaign itself has been colorful, and certainly memorable, and the prospect of a Pirate Party takeover attracted the attention of the international media.

Finally, the most memorable moment from election night undoubtedly took place when Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson was being interviewed live at the Independence Party’s election offices. At that moment, a man interrupted the interview to ask the camera, “Why does no one remember the financial crash and [offshore tax shelter] Tortola? Why are you feeding the bird of prey?”, in reference to the symbol of the Independence Party, the falcon:


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