Iceland has been without a ruling government since snap elections on October 29. None of the seven parties or alliances could could form a majority.
The conservative Independence party had first shot and failed. The Left-Green Movement had second chance and failed.
Now it’s the Pirate Party’s chance, led by Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
The Guardian reports Iceland’s Pirate Party Invited to Form Government.
Iceland’s president has invited the anti-establishment Pirate party to form a government, after the right- and leftwing parties failed in their bids.
Guðni Jóhannesson made the announcement on Friday after meeting with the head of the Pirate’s parliamentary group, Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
“I met with the leaders of all parties and asked their opinion on who should lead those talks. After that I summoned Birgitta Jónsdóttir and handed her the mandate,” he said.
Iceland held snap legislative elections on 29 October, in which none of the seven parties or alliances obtained a clear majority.
The conservative Independence party, which performed best at the polls, initially tried to form a government with the liberal, centre-right Reform party and the centrist Bright Future.
But they failed to find common ground on issues including relations with the EU, institutional reform and fishing.
The president then called on the Left-Green Movement, the second-biggest party, to form a government.
Despite holding talks to build a five-party coalition from the centre-right to the far-left, disagreements over taxes and other issues led the negotiations to collapse in late November.
The president then allowed the parties to hold informal talks, which led the Independence party and the Left-Green Movement to discuss terms for sharing power. But the diametrically opposed parties could not find enough common ground.
Giving the Pirate party, which came third in the election, the chance to build a government has been seen as a bold move that is not guaranteed to be a success.
“I am optimistic that we will find a way to work together,” Jónsdóttir said.
The scandal over the Panama Papers, released in April, ensnared several Icelandic officials and led to the resignation of former prime minister Sigmundur Daviíð Gunnlaugsson, prompting the October vote.
With voters keen to see political change, the small and controversial Pirate party had vowed during the election campaign to implement radical institutional reforms for more direct democracy and greater transparency in public life.
It won 14.5% of votes, less than pollsters had predicted.
Reflections on “IceSave”
Back in 2010, Jónsdóttir fought very hard against a parliamentary bill and referendums in Iceland that would have made Icelandic citizens responsible for the failure of an Icelandic bank, just to bail out UK and Dutch losses.
The referendum failed, and parliament (clearly owned by banking interests) had the gall to try once again. And once again the voters in Iceland did the right thing.
The proposed bailout, not of Iceland, but of UK and Dutch investors would have saddled each Icelandic citizen with $16,400 of debt.
Ultimately, Icelandic voters prevailed, and to the consternation of the IMF and other purveyors of doom, Iceland recovered from the great financial crisis faster than anyone else.
I wrote about this on March 6, 2010 in Iceland Rejects IceSave; Does No Mean No?.
In response to that article, I received an unsolicited Email From Birgitta Jonsdottir, Member of Iceland’s Parliament.
Thank you all for helping getting out the other side about the situation in Iceland. Your response is creating an unexpected wave of people starting their own “no campaigns” around the western world.
It is time the peoples from around the world put an end to the insanity played by the financial world at their cost.
All my best
I commented …
Now if only I could get my own legislative representatives to answer emails. Melissa Bean, my representative from Illinois, has not returned any of a half dozen emails or phone calls about numerous issues.
Yet across the ocean, I can get a personal response from a member of Iceland’s parliament.
Mike Breseman, a neighbor and former village president where I live said the same thing to me yesterday: no emails returned from Bean and outright arrogance from her staff on the phone.
His son Calvin, aged 13, emailed 20 congressional representatives about Cap-And-Trade and received zero responses.
Yet across the ocean, one can communicate with members of Iceland’s parliament.
Melissa Bean is supposedly a “Blue Dog” fiscal conservative, yet she voted for various bailouts and the preposterous Cap-And-Trade legislation. What’s up with that?
Who knows? She won’t answer emails.
Melissa Bean lost the next election. Good riddance.
Best Wishes to Birgitta Jónsdóttir
I do not know much about her stance on other issues, but I do say best wishes and good luck to Birgitta Jónsdóttir!
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Sorry this comment is off topic…
Is it possible Trump will chose former Sec of State Kissinger as his Sec of State ??!!
Trump and Kissinger met in private in November.
Henry Kissinger visits China to ease concerns amid Trump transition
.Trump, Kissinger meet in New York
Mike Chellman said:
Mish, that’s pretty funny and sad at the same time. But there is something missing from your commentary. I think that the assets of the defunct Iceland banks were eventially and unexpectently able to be sold to pay off the depositors. So there was no net liabilty to be otherwise financed. Of course the bank stockholders lost everything as they should have.
This whole situation would be a fitting subject for one of your columns as it may have application to Europe and the United States. It’s a textbook example of stupidity and hubris by government and financial elites. The hard thing would be to find someone who could lucidly explain what exactly what happened in Iceland.
Ensign Nemo said:
Kissinger is 93 years old and is too old to travel extensively.
The Sec. of State must perforce travel to other countries to meet with his counterparts.
This is a red herring.
Kissinger is not too old to have traveled to China after meeting with Trump a few weeks earlier and while Trump was taking on the phone with Taiwan. No such thing as coincidence.
“Melissa Bean is supposedly a “Blue Dog” fiscal conservative, yet she voted for various bailouts and the preposterous Cap-And-Trade legislation. What’s up with that”?
I’d be worried about Paul Ryan… keep an eye on him. He seems exceedingly interested in selling every american citizen down the river.
Mathew Phillips said:
Birgitta is an astonishingly responsive person. I am a citizen of Canada who first contacted Birgitta by Facebook message in 2010. I was surprised she had a regular account and I sent a message without even first making a friend request. She replied within a day. To a message on her junk folder! When I later took a trip to Iceland I msgs to see if she would meet for coffee and a chat. To my continued amazement she arranged a time and we met. We have met each time I’ve gone backexcept once when she happened to be out of the country at a conference.
I would add I am not a politician nor a noteworthy activist or really anything remarkable. I am not ‘important’ and not even a citizen of Iceland .
I can speak to Birgittas genuine character and integrity as an honest and ambitious activist with an amazing capacity to speak truth to politics.
Love the name, pirate party. Why can’t all party names be so descriptive such as the corporate greed party, or nature before people party.
Pirates of Old have been given a bad rap by ‘historians’ eager to please their governments. Depicted as swaggering drunks, slashing anything in sight with their cutlasses, terrifying and murdering captives, pirates were early victims of vilification by established political orders.
Actually, pirates were very capable people. Imagine navigating a 17th century ship on the high seas without a GPS, radio or weather reports. Few would dare even try it nowadays. Most pirate ships had conduct codes and there are few, if any, records of plank-walkings – probably because intelligent, hard-working pirates were too civilized to behave in such a way.
Back in the day, almost all pirates started out being commissioned by a government to harass the enemy. Come to think of it, some things haven’t changed very much.
Stuki Moi said:
Sound a lot like today’s most infamous supposed “Pirates”, The Taliban…… Commissioned to harass the Soviets, then supposed to just go away, despite their once were commissioners behaving more like the Soviets by the day…..
Ancilla Tilia, former Playboy and fetish model, is the leader of the Pirate Party of the Netherlands:
America could learn a thing or two from our Dutch friends. If we’re going to have celebrity politicians, why couldn’t we get a few good looking ones? (And I think she’s actually fairly libertarian too)
I wish I could vote for Ancilla!
We need a Pirate Party as all of the other ‘parties’ on our ballots are either shams or represent part of the ‘War Party’.
American Independent (George Wallace Racists), Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Peace and Freedom, Republicans, etc. all either put forward ‘War Party’ candidates or those who do not belief in their ‘values’.
We need a new Third Party.
What libertarian party candidate was a warmonger? I have watched the libertarian party for many decades and I do not remember a warmonger candidate, ever.
Tator Jones said:
Not to change subjects, but if you get a chance to visit Iceland, do it. We went last May and we fell in love with the beautiful sights and the people are as friendly and intelligent any we have ever met. The country is 99% wired for internet. It is a socialist country though. It is also expensive there. Gas was $6.00 a gallon and a hamburger, fries and a coke ~$12-14 dollars.
Take a self-driving Ring Road tour that circles the country and stay on working farms that have wonderful housing. Take at least 10 days to see it. We did the 10 days tour and wished we had another 10 days.
The geology/views are breathtaking with 100s of waterfalls and glaciers. You can hike a glacier in the morning and be caving in volcanoes in the afternoon.
It is interesting you mention that
I am starting a photography website soon, and my first set of articles will be called Iceland in 16 days
Tator Jones said:
Iceland is a photographer’s dream, but you probably knew that since you are starting there. We stopped taking pictures of waterfalls after the first 100 or so. The black beaches, rock formations, trolls (Icelandic fable), shear cliffs, glaciers, millions of sheep, working farms with great accommodations and moss for hundreds of square miles.
If you like thermal baths go to the Blue Lagoon (tourists, Secret Lagoon (locals), and Myvath Baths (tourist and locals). Food is expensive, but it is outstandingly good food. We are going back. If you want more information and a few photos, email me.
Couldn’t agree more about the beauty of Iceland. I rode around the ring road on a bicycle for 7 weeks this past summer.