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Coalition talks of Iceland's five opposition parties fail: report

Xinhua, November 24, 2016 Adjust font size:

Talks between Iceland's five opposition parties led by the Left-Green Movement to form a new majority government fell through on Wednesday, Icelandic media reported.

"It is clear that not all of the five parties are sufficiently convinced that such a coalition could work," Left-Green Movement leader Katrin Jakobsdottir was quoted by online newspaper Iceland Monitor as saying.

Although all involved had shown good will to negotiate and a good deal of progress had been made, differences of opinion on issues such as taxation and the allocation of funds to fields such as health and education were too great to be overcome, the report said.

Jakobsdottir has not yet decided whether or not she will now formally renounce her mandate to form a government, and Iceland's President Gudni Johannesson has advised her to "sleep on it," according to Iceland Monitor.

The other four parties that had engaged in formal coalition talks are the Pirate Party, the Vidreisn (Revival) party, the Bright Future and the Social Democratic Alliance.

Johannesson on Nov. 16 transferred the mandate to form the next government to the Left-Green Movement's leader after the Independence Party, which took a lead in the recent parliamentary election, had failed to do so.

The president on Nov. 2 had given Bjarni Benediktsson, the Independence Party's chairman, the mandate to form the next government.

However, Benediktsson's attempt to reach an agreement with the Vidreisn party and Bright Future had failed.

Formal negotiations between the three Icelandic parties on forming a new government had broken down due to differences over fish management and European Union (EU) membership, according to Icelandic media.

The Independence Party, one of the two current ruling parties, got 21 out of the 63 seats in the parliament with winning 29.0 percent of the ballots cast in the Oct. 29 election.

However, the centrist Progressive Party, the other ruling party, finished fourth with only eight seats, 11 fewer than what it had gained in the last parliamentary election in 2013.

The Left-Green Movement gained 10 seats with 15.9 percent of votes, while the Pirate Party, which had taken the lead in many pre-election polls over the months, also won 10 seats with 14.5 percent.

The Vidreisn party, the Bright Future and the Social Democratic Alliance also crossed the 5-percent electoral threshold with seven, four and three seats respectively. Endit