Iceland’s Left-Green head tasked with forming gov’t
REYKJAVIK – Agence France-PresseThe head of Iceland’s Left-Green movement was tasked Nov. 17 with forming a new government, nearly three weeks after snap elections triggered by the Panama Papers scandal left the country in political deadlock.
Since its independence in 1944, Iceland has only seen one center-left government, which emerged from the 2009 election after the 2008 financial collapse.
Allied with the anti-establishment Pirate Party, Social Democrats and Bright Future party, the Left-Green faces an uphill task of forging a governing coalition with the center-right Reform party, analysts say.
Just on Nov. 16, Pirate deputy Asta Helgadottir poured cold water on the idea, saying such a coalition would be a “jigsaw.”
Led by the largest election winner Independence Party (21 seats), the center-right coalition failed to find common ground over a range of divisive issues - relations with the European Union (EU), institutional reform and fishing.
The Oct. 29 snap vote, prompted by a massive tax scandal ensnaring several Icelandic officials, saw the anti-establishment Pirate Party become the third largest party with 10 seats.
Meanwhile, Icelandic authorities said on Nov. 17 that 108 taxpayers whose names were in the “Panama Papers” had been targeted by an investigation for tax evasion.
Directorate of Tax Investigations chief, Bryndis Kristjansdottir, told AFP that of those, 31 had been discovered due to the documents which the Icelandic authorities bought from an anonymous source.
Causing a political earthquake in Iceland, the Panama Papers, released in April, fuelled the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and prompted a snap vote in October.