REYKJAVIK Jan 10 Iceland's centre-right
Independence, Reform and Bright Future parties have agreed to
form a coalition government and will give parliament a vote on
whether to hold a referendum on joining the European Union.
Together, the coalition will hold 32 of the 63 seats in
parliament. The Independence Party will have 21 seats, making it
the largest party in the coalition. However, it opposes EU
membership while the other two parties both favour it.
The Independence and Reform parties accepted the agreement
on Monday, Icelandic media reported. Bright Future said it had
backed the deal in a vote overnight. The agreement ends a
political impasse since a general election in October.
"The agreement was, after a discussion, voted on by the
management by electronic voting and was accepted by the party,"
Bright Future spokesman Unsteinn Johannsson said.
In November, the three parties abandoned an attempt to form
a coalition. The Left Greens and the Pirate Party also made
unsuccessful attempts to form a government before the mandate
was returned to the Independence Party .
Iceland applied to join the EU in 2009, a year after a
banking crash left the country on the verge of bankruptcy. The
crash led many to argue it should have closer ties with Europe
and even join the single currency to shield it from future
Iceland, already a member of the European Free Trade
Association (EFTA), later shelved the talks.
(Reporting by Ragnhildur Sigurdadottir; writing by Simon
Johnson in Stockholm)