Formal talks have begun between the Left-Greens, the Independence Party and the Progressive Party, RÚV reports. While no timeline has been set, Independence Party chair Bjarni Benediktsson told reporters that he expects talks to resolve within the next four to five days. No decisions have been taken on who will be given what ministerial seat, but it is expected that Left-Green chair Katrín Jakobsdóttir will be Iceland’s next Prime Minister.
This coalition would have 35 seats in Iceland’s 63-seat parliament, giving them a comfortable majority, and is also comprised of fewer parties than other possible coalition configurations.
However, the choice to start talks with the Independence Party is not without controversy. Iceland held snap elections last month due to the scandals that Bjarni has been awash in, and opponents of Katrín ran a vicious campaign against her.
As a result, dozens have already resigned from the Left-Greens, and their Facebook page has been flooded with comments from voters announcing their departure from the party. The youth branch of the party issued a statement strongly condemning the possible partnership, which they see as a betrayal of what the Left-Greens stand for. It also bears mentioning that two Left-Green MPs, Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir and Andrés Ingi Jónsson, voted against these coalition talks.
It has also become apparent that a robust opposition is in the works. Social Democrat chair Logi Einarsson has been diligent in forming an alliance between his party, the Pirates, the People’s Party and the Reform Party. The original intent was to former a broader coalition, but this now appears to be off the table.
Further details on whether these three very different parties can form a joint platform and, if so, who will be taking what ministerial seats still remains to be seen.