Minority Government Could Be In The Cards For Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Minority Government Could Be In The Cards For Iceland

Published December 16, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

As different coalition configurations have been attempted and failed, the possibility of a minority government has increased significantly, Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson believes.

“I think because it can’t be denied that after all this time, seven weeks tomorrow, and a few things have been tried, that if it isn’t possible to form a majority government, then people will examine a minority government,” the Prime Minister told listeners of radio station Rás 1 this morning. “And a minority government could of course last a long time if there’s enough trust,” adding that such a coalition could possibly last long enough to hold elections again in the spring.

For the unfamiliar, a minority government is a coalition of parliamentary parties that by themselves do not have enough seats to comprise a majority. Such coalitions are usually supported by one or more parties who agree to “defend” the coalition against votes of no confidence – something minority governments are vulnerable to. As such, a minority government cannot roll through each piece of legislation they want to pass, as is the case with majority governments; rather, opposition party votes are also necessary in order to pass legislation.

Minority governments have been made in Iceland before. Most recently, a minority government comprised of the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens with the Progressive Party defending them served as an interim government after the collapse of the Social Democrat-Independence Party coalition in January 2009 until new elections were held on April 25 of that year.

In the wake of the Pirates returning the mandate to form a coalition to the president, the verdict is still out on what Iceland’s next government will be.

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