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