From Iceland — Election 2016: There Are Now Two Separate Coalition Talks Underway

Election 2016: There Are Now Two Separate Coalition Talks Underway

Published December 1, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

While the Independence Party and the Left-Greens are continuing coalition talks, four other parties are holding coalition talks of their own.

RÚV reports that the Pirate Party, the Reform Party, the Social Democrats and Bright Future have entered into informal talks about forming Iceland’s next ruling coalition. This is going on while the Independence Party and the Left-Greens are in coalition talks of their own.

Bright Future chair Óttarr Proppé told reporters that they have reached out to Left-Green chair Katrín Jakobsdóttir to take part.

If it seems odd that there should be two different and simultaneous coalition talks, bear in mind that President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson announced last week that he would not give the mandate to any one party; rather, he told reporters that he reminded these party leaders of the responsibility that rests upon them to form a government. As such, he told these party leaders to enter discussions with one another to create a new coalition without ruling out working with any particular party.

The past month has been a strange and often frustrating process of trying to work out 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, although what third party would be brought into the fold to give them a majority is still unknown.

As such, what Iceland’s next government will be is still a mystery. The Grapevine will keep readers updated as the situation unfolds. However, parliament is to reconvene on December 6, putting the pressure on everyone to finalise some kind of coalition.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!