Talks to form Iceland government collapse a second time

Like the right-wing before it, the leader of the Left-Green Movement has said she is "giving up" on building a coalition. Iceland's president has now urged leaders from all seven parties to now hold discussions.

Iceland's president said that "all parties" will be required to hold informal talks on reforming a new government after negotiations led by the left-of-center party collapsed on Friday, plunging the country into political uncertainty.

Politics | 30.10.2016

"For the time being, I have decided not to give any single party leader the task of forming a government," President Gudni Johannesson said.

Johannesson's statement came after the leader of the Left-Green Movement, Katrin Jakobsdottir, informed him that she was "giving up" on building a coalition after a week of discussions. Jakobsdottir had hoped to build a broad five-party ruling government, ranging from the center-right to the far-left. They failed to find common ground, however, namely over disagreements on taxes.

Earlier, the largest election winner, the conservative Independence Party, led by Bjarni Benediktsson, attempted to form a coalition with the center-right Reform Party and centrist Bright Future Movement. Talks broke down after leaders clashed over divisive issues, including relations with the EU, institutional reforms and fishing regulations.

Catastrophe | 29.10.2016

Following the two rounds of negotiations, several parties have ruled out working with each other, making it increasingly harder to secure the 32-seat majority needed in the 63-seat legislature.

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However, Johannesson added that talks had already begun and that he hoped to see a result in the coming days. He stressed that it was important for Iceland's politicians to now take responsibility.

However, it talks continue to fail, Iceland could face a second election within a few months.

Iceland held a snap election on October 29, where none of the seven parties or alliances was able to claim a majority. Elections were originally scheduled for April, but were brought forward after then-Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, was ensnared along with several other officials in a scandal over the Panama Papers leak. He subsequently resigned amid public protests.

The Independence party, a coalition partner in the Gunnlaugsson's ousted government, came out on top of the vote, ahead of the Left-Green Movement and the anti-establishment Pirate Party, who came second and third respectively.

dm/kl (AFP, dpa, AP)

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