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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