Elections '17: Iceland's New Gov't Likely Convenes Tomorrow - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Elections ’17: Iceland’s New Gov’t Likely Convenes Tomorrow

Published November 29, 2017

Photos by
Art Bicnick/SEPPO SAMULI

The joint platform and ministerial seats are all but finalised for Iceland’s next government. Parties involved vote on the platform tonight and, if passed, the new coalition will begin tomorrow.

Sources close to RÚV have revealed some of the key points of the joint platform hammered out between the Left-Greens, the Independence Party and the Progressives, as well as how the ministerial seats will be distributed.

One of the most contentions subjects between the Left-Greens and the Independence Party in particular has been taxes; the Left-Greens have wanted to raise taxes on the highest income earners, while the Independence Party have sought the opposite. According to RÚV’s sources, the VAT on tourism will not be increased, although a special arrival-and-departure fee is being looked into. Further, the capital gains tax will be raised from 20% to 22%, which would still make it amongst the lowest in Europe.

The building of power plants has also been a sore spot between these two parties, but a compromise has been reached wherein instead of building more power plants, the government will seek to reform the energy grid to be more efficient.

Where the distribution of ministerial seats is concerned, Vísir reports that little has changed: Left-Green chair Katrín Jakobsdóttir will be Iceland’s next Prime Minister; Independence Party chair Bjarni Benediktsson will be Minister of Finance; Independence Party MP Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson will be the foreign minister; and the Progressives will oversee education, fisheries and agriculture. However, the fact that Sigríður Andersen will likely continue to be Minister of Justice has raised some alarm, in particular amongst Left-Green supporters, as she played a key role in the scandals that brought down the previous government.

It is also uncertain if this coalition will be comprised of 35 seats or 33, as two Left-Green MPs, Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir and Andrés Ingi Jónsson, voted against these coalition talks.

Should members of all three parties vote in favour of the joint platform tonight, Iceland’s new government will be ready to get to work tomorrow.

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