From Iceland — Elections '17: Iceland's New Government Finalised By Week's End

Elections ’17: Iceland’s New Government Finalised By Week’s End

Published November 21, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Sources are already reporting on who is getting which ministry in Iceland’s next government, which could be formed within the next few days. Meanwhile, new polling shows the Left-Greens may already be paying the price.

Vísir reports that chairs for the Left-Greens, the Independence Party and the Progressives – who are currently in formal coalition talks – are optimistic that they will be able to form a joint platform. By all accounts, it is possible that a new government will be formed within the next few days.

Apart from the many points of contention that exist within this coalition, especially between the Independence Party and the Left-Greens, there is the big question of who will get which ministerial seats. Sources close to Fréttablaðið report that Left-Green chair Katrín Jakobsdóttir is likely to be Iceland’s next Prime Minister. These sources also report that the party wants the ministries of health, the environment and transportation.

It is also being reported that the Independence Party stand to scoop up the ministries of finance, foreign affairs and the interior, under the purview of former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson and Sigríður Andersen, respectively. Where the Progressives are concerned, they look likely to take the ministries of education, agriculture and fishing.

The decision to form a government with the Independence Party has been decidedly unpopular with many Left-Green voters, and they appear to be paying the price for it now. A new poll from Market and Media Research shows that their support has fallen by 3.6%, to 13%, since elections were held last month. At the same time, the Social Democrats – who categorically ruled out working with the Independence Party – have risen from 12.1% to 16%.

As reported, about 90 people have resigned from the party since the talks were announced. Although this comprises only a tiny portion of the approximately 6,000 people registered in the Left-Greens, Left-Green MPs Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir and Andrés Ingi Jónsson voted against the talks, and the youth branch of the party issued a statement that they were categorically opposed to working with the Independence Party.

Points of contention between the parties include taxation. Sources close to Fréttablaðið say that the idea is on the table to lower taxes for Iceland’s lowest income-earners, while increasing taxes on businesses, although no exact figures have been put forward. There is also the question of climate change, as the Left-Greens placed great emphasis on this issue during the brief campaign season, and the party would in fact like to go further than the Paris Accord outlines. In addition, increased protections and restitution for survivors of sexual abuse have also been a prominent issue, as this subject played a significant role in the collapse of the previous government.

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