Official Coalition Talks Begin In Reykjavik, But No Mayor Yet

Official Coalition Talks Begin In Reykjavik, But No Mayor Yet

Published May 31, 2018

Photo by
Art Bicnick
Baldur Kristjánsson

Formal talks have officially begun in Reykjavík between the parties from the standing coalition and the Reform Party, RÚV reports. This includes the Social Democrats, the Pirate Party and the Left Greens, but not the Socialists, who decided not to take part in any possible majority.

Although the Reform Party is a pro-EU neo-liberal party that stemmed from the conservative spirit of the Independence Party, it made public transport the core of its municipal platform—something that the Independence Party itself has completely rejected.

The talks are expected to last about a week—enough time to create a platform for the first City Council meeting of the year which will be in exactly 20 days. If a coalition is eventually formed between the previously mentioned parties, it will establish a majority of 12 in the 23-seat council. It’s still unclear, however, who will be nominated new mayor.

Reykjavík’s former Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has not been asked to make space for another leader, but there is also no formal indication that he’ll be mayor again. “Everything is still open,” says Þórdís Lóa Þórhallsdóttir, leader of the Reform Party. “At this point, anybody could be mayor—that’s just how it is.”

As of now, the coalition seems more than willing to channel all efforts into tackling the issues with the housing market, local infrastructures and the educational system, from downtown Reykjavík to the suburbs. “We’ve haven’t discussed the division of projects yet,” Dagur says. “It’s only sensible that we do that when all our issues and concerns have been out forward. That’s everybody’s prerogative. Then we can figure it out so that everybody gets to do their part.”

Despite Dagur’s optimism, many have been critical of the possible coalition between the Reform Party and the old majority.

“The results of the elections Saturday were of course that the Left Greens and the Social Democrats were defeated,” says Vigdís Hauksdóttir from the Centre Party. Vigdís, who has been mostly employing a team of Vikings for personal transportation around the capital, was in fact surprised to hear that the former mayor still nursed a dream of victory.

“The call for change will not be answered by re-instating the same coalition that was rejected,” said Eyþór Arnalds, whose Independence Party got one more vote than the Social Democrats.

The leader of the Reform Party, however, said it would be inaccurate to juxtapose the old majority to the current possible coalition. “We are new and we also want change, so we’re calling for a new majority,” Þórdís explains.

“The Pirates also had a good victory so they have new people on the platform and they’ve also been asking for more changes during the entire electoral campaign. So we’re not exactly walking into some old system. We’re simply going to create a new majority.”

Follow our coverage of this year’s Reykjavík City Elections here

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