From Iceland — BREAKING: Coalition Talks Dissolve, Iceland's Next Gov't Uncertain

BREAKING: Coalition Talks Dissolve, Iceland’s Next Gov’t Uncertain

Published November 15, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Paul Fontaine

Coalition formation talks between the Independence Party, the Reform Party and Bright Future have broken down, as the three could not agree over matters related to fish management and the European Union.

Sources close to Kjarninn have confirmed this news. As such, the three-party coalition that was close to a reality last week is no more.

Bright Future chair Óttarr Proppé told RÚV that he knew such a coalition would be thin, but said his party and the Independence Party simply could not agree when it came to fisheries management and the question of a national referendum on EU accession.

This proposed coalition was initially billed as a centre-right party, with many banking on the centrist Bright Future to pull the more conservative Independence Party and Reform Party to the left. However, Icelanders were particularly critical of Bright Future’s involvement in this coalition. More immediately, the proposed coalition would only have a majority of one seat, making a common platform between the three all the more crucial.

As such, it is expected that Independence Party chair Bjarni Benediktsson will return the mandate to form a coalition to President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, and RÚV reports the two will meet at 17:00 today. He, in turn, may then give the mandate to Left-Green chair Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who has gone on record saying she believes Iceland’s next government should be a left-wing coalition.

However, this will be challenging. As the results of the election show, the combined seats of all the left-of-centre parties only total 17 of 63 seats. If the Pirates – who emphatically do not identify as left nor right – are added, that takes the total count to 27. As such, this coalition would need the support of the Reform Party to hold a majority. Inviting either the Independence Party or the Progressives to such a coalition is highly unlikely at best.

This being the case, Iceland is still without a new government. Who will get the mandate, and who will be invited into coalition talks with that party, still remains to be seen.

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