From Iceland — Elections 2016: Left-Green Chair Ready To Lead Next Coalition Talks

Elections 2016: Left-Green Chair Ready To Lead Next Coalition Talks

Published November 15, 2016

Photo by
Gabrielle Motola

In the wake of today’s collapsed talks between Iceland’s centre-to-right parties, Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakobsdóttir is set to meet with President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson tomorrow morning.

Katrín spoke with reporters earlier this evening, RÚV reports, saying that she had asked the president shortly after the elections to be given the mandate to form Iceland’s next coalition, and that position has not changed. When asked what kind of coalition she might form, she said that she will probably be contacting everyone, but ideally she would like to form a centre-to-left coalition.

As reported, coalition talks between the Independence Party, the Reform Party and Bright Future broke down today, 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.

Bjarni told RÚV after meeting with the president at 17:00 today that he had been hoping for a broader base of support for the coalition, but ultimately this was not tenable.

Reform Party chair Benedikt Jóhannsson said that it had been Bjarni who broke up the talks, who did not want to bend on a number of key issues, and furthermore showed “great interest” in bring the Progressive Party into the proposed coalition – despite having lost half their seats in last month’s elections.

Forming a new coalition of the kind Katrín describes 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.

More details should come to light after Katrín meets with the president tomorrow morning.

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