Elections '17: Five-Party Coalition Possibly In The Works - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Elections ’17: Five-Party Coalition Possibly In The Works

Published November 1, 2017

Main photo by
Art Bicnick

Left-Green chair Katrín Jakobsdóttir may be Iceland’s next Prime Minister, if current five-party coalition talks go as well as hoped.

Stundin reports that their sources inform them there are talks currently underway to form a coalition led by the Left-Greens, and supported by the Social Democrats, the Pirates, the Progressive Party and the Reform Party. Such a coalition would comprise 36 seats in Iceland’s 63-seat Parliament, spanning the political spectrum from left to centre-right.

This comes close to one of the minority governments Grapevine predicted, with the unlikely addition of the Reform Party.

The move would shut out former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and his Independence Party; Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and his Centre Party; and the Peoples’ Party. The first two parties have been associated with scandal – specifically, that Bjarni’s father had signed a letter of recommendation for a convicted paedophile to have his civil standing restored, which Bjarni had deliberately not told the press and the public, while Sigmundur resigned from office last year in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

Inga Sæland, the chair of the People’s Party, subsequently did herself no favours when she told reporters that she had recommended to President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson that he give the mandate to form a government to either Bjarni or Sigmundur.

The big question where this coalition is concerned is how they will form a joint platform. Particular points of contention include the question of the European Union; the Social Democrats and the Reform Party support accession, while the Progressives are decidedly against it. Further, while both the Left-Greens and the Social Democrats support raising taxes on Iceland’s highest income earners, the Reform Party have been opposed to the idea.

The coming days, or possibly weeks, will provide us with a clearer picture of what Iceland’s next government will be.

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