Iceland set for haggle after elections fail to yield absolute majority

Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson told the national broadcaster RUV he would resign on Sunday after his Progressive Party suffered a plunge in support.

Iceland set for haggle after elections fail to yield absolute majority

World Bulletin / News Desk

Iceland on Sunday faced a wrangle over its next government after the anti-establishment Pirate Party and its allies gained ground but fell short of a majority in snap elections sparked by the Panama Papers scandal.

Polls had predicted the "Pirates" would benefit from a public urge to punish establishment parties after Johannsson's predecessor, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, stepped down over allegations about family holdings stashed in tax havens.

In the end, the Pirates and three left-of-centre allies gained 28 seats, four short of the 32 needed to command an overall majority in the 63-member parliament, the Althingi, according to preliminary results announced late Saturday.

"We are very satisfied," said "Pirates" cofounder Birgitta Jonsdottir, an activist, poet and WikiLeaks supporter.

"We are a platform for young people, for progressive people who shape and reshape our society ... like Robin Hood because Robin Hood was a pirate, we want to take the power from the powerful to give it to the people," Jonsdottir told AFP, referring to the English outlaw of legend.

Founded just four years ago, the Pirates were credited with as many as nine seats, making them the third largest party in the island nation.

Its allies are the Left-Green movement, which picked up 10 seats, the Social Democrats, with four, and the centrist Bright Future, with five, according to the preliminary results.

The Pirate Party, whose headquarters is onboard a boat anchored in the port of Reykjavik, see themselves as a force to reinvigorate democracy.

They have set down a five-point programme that includes constitutional change to make leaders more accountable, free health care, greater protection of natural resources and the closure of tax loopholes for large corporations.

They also want Icelanders to hold a referendum on EU membership -- a long-standing political issue whose objective they oppose but wish to be settled.

Among other groups, the centre-right Progressive Party picked up seven seats while the Independence Party had 21 seats.

The centre Regeneration Party, which could be the kingmakers in the election, garnered seven seats in the Icelandic parliament.

The leader of the Independence Party, Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, will be given the mandate to negotiate on the majority in the parliament.

 

Last Mod: 30 Ekim 2016, 09:50
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