Elections '17: Left-Greens Get Mandate To Form Iceland's Next Government - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Elections ’17: Left-Greens Get Mandate To Form Iceland’s Next Government

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Art Bicnick

Formal 4-party talks will now begin for forming Iceland’s next ruling coalition, with Left-Green chair Katrín Jakobsdóttir as the new Prime Minister.

Vísir reports that Katrín met with President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson at 16:00 to discuss the results of informal talks her party has had with the Social Democrats, the Progressives and the Pirates for the formation of a 4-party coalition with a one-seat majority.

“The mandate to form a government is not an award for performing well in the elections,” Guðni told reporters, referring to the fact that the Independence Party won the most seats in last Saturday’s elections. “That custom has never existed in Iceland. Not least of all granting the chair of the largest party the mandate automatically.” The President added he hopes to hear results of formal coalition talks after the weekend.

Katrín told reporters that these talks will begin tomorrow, with an emphasis on health care, education, infrastructure and other important sectors.

“We’ll go over all this tomorrow, when we begin formal talks,” she said. “We will work hard and fast so that matters will form a clearer picture in the coming days.”

The arrangement is one of the minority governments Grapevine predicted, and the scandals of the previous two governments likely played contributing factors in the Independence Party and the Centre Party being shut out of informal coalition talks. Specifically, former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’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 the Prime Minister before him, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, resigned from office last year in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

Should formal talks go as well as hoped, Iceland will have a left-to-centre government. An atypical choice, historically; Iceland has only had one other left wing government, from 2009 to 2013, when the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens led the post-crash coalition.


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