Musings, politics and environmental issues

Archive for November, 2017

Icelandic politics: unbelievable but (maybe) true

One more election over, and one more to come in the near future if the formal talks now starting result in a government spanning right, left and centre. The promising start between four left-to-centre parties fizzled out when the centre party, the Progressive Party (PP), decided that a majority of one was not enough. Informal talks between the Left-Greens (LG), Independent Party (IP) and PP have now resulted in formal talks.

Left-Green supporters are not pleased, and there is also antipathy and outright opposition within elected LG party members towards working with Bjarni Ben’s IP party. His party got 16 seats as distinct from 11 for the LGs and 8 for the PP. Usually, the IP would get the right to form a government but in this case it was Katrin Jakobsdottir from the LGs who got it originally, and returned it when the first talks came to nothing.

Nevertheless, she is still playing a major role. She turned to BB and started informal discussions with him and the PP, which were accepted by her fellow MPs on the basis that she would become Prime Minister rather than BB – this still seems likely to be the case. It was reported that the LGs didn’t want BB anywhere near a Cabinet position, and even that ministerial positions should be filled by people outside of elected representatives, but these demands now seem to have got lost. BB is supposed to become the Finance Minister (hello Tortola).

As predicted beforehand, some people have already resigned from the Left-Greens because of the projected alliance with arch-enemies IP. A year ago, only 25% of Bright Future supporters wanted to enter into a coalition with the IP and its splinter party Vidreisn, and support for BF dropped from 7.2% in the 2016 elections to 1.2% now. Disgruntled voters saw that they wouldn’t have a voice under BB and voted accordingly this year. The same will happen with LG supporters, who did not vote for the party on the basis that they would end up with their arch-enemies as bedfellows.

Two of the elected LG members (11 in all) voted against forming an alliance with BB and it’s still possible that the party as a whole will reject the current talks. Katrin has promised “a different way of working” but voters have heard that before, and with the IP around it doesn’t happen. Stay tuned – next update is likely to be at the end of the week.