REYKJAVIK Dec 13 Iceland's president has urged
party leaders to come up with a plan to form a majority
government after talks on building a coalition failed for the
third time following the October election and concerns grew that
a new vote could be called.
Failure to form a government could delay the gradual lifting
of capital controls imposed after the 2008 financial crisis -
seen as key by investors to reinserting the economy into global
"I reminded the party leaders of their responsibility to
reach an agreement on the forming of a government," President
Gudni Johannesson said in a statement.
Iceland's anti-establishment Pirate Party became the third
party to fail to form a government on Monday after trying to
build a centre-left coalition with the Left Greens and three
Previous talks led by the Left Greens and the centre-right
Independence Party also failed.
"Right now it's free for all negotiations. We are going to
pull out a little bit to see how things unfold, if other parties
are going to show willingness to move ahead in some direction,"
Pirate Party leader Birgitta Jonsdottir told Reuters.
One possible step could be talks to form a grand coalition
of parties across the political spectrum after the Oct. 29
election, said Gretar Thor Eythorsson, politics professor at the
University of Akureyri.
If all else fails, the president could ask the current
coalition of the Progressive and Independence parties to
continue as a temporary government with new elections next year,
"If we would have this kind of minority government and an
election maybe in April, that will probably delay some of the
issues that I think need be done sooner rather than later, such
as capital controls," he said.
Pawel Bartoszek, a member of parliament for the Reform Party
that has been part of all three attempts to form a coalition,
said he hoped talks would finally succeed.
"I still believe we have a responsibility trying to form a
majority before we try different options like new elections,"
Bartoszek told Reuters.
While a minority government cannot be ruled out, Iceland has
no such tradition, unlike some of its Nordic neighbours.
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen in Oslo, Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir
in Reykjavik and Daniel Dickson in Stockholm,; Editing by
Alistair Scrutton and Ed Osmond)