Ice­land’s pre­si­dent as­ks In­de­pen­den­ce Party to form new govern­ment

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

ICE­LAND - Ice­land’s pre­si­dent on Wed­nes­day as­ked the lea­der of the cen­ter-right In­de­pen­den­ce Party to form a new govern­ment af­ter the party emer­ged on top in a ge­ne­ral elec­ti­on on Sa­tur­day. Pre­si­dent Gud­ni Jo­han­nes­son ga­ve the man­da­te to Bjar­ni Be­ne­dikts­son af­ter the party won the lar­gest sha­re of the vo­te with 29 per­cent on a cam­paign to lo­wer taxes and keep the eco­no­mic re­co­ve­ry on track.

“My first step is to speak to lea­ders of other par­ties,” Be­ne­dikts­son told re­por­ters. “But this can al­ways ta­ke so­me ti­me, in par­ti­cu­lar when it is clear that it will not be en­ough to get two par­ties to form a govern­ment.”

The In­de­pen­den­ce Party was a ju­ni­or mem­ber of the for­mer govern­ment and has been part of eve­ry govern­ment bet­ween 1980 and 2009 and again from 2013. It pre­si­ded over the pri­va­ti­za­ti­on of the banks, the li­be­ra­li­za­ti­on of the fi­nan­ci­al sec­tor and its de­mi­se, and the coun­try’s even­tu­al eco­no­mic re­co­ve­ry from its 2008 cri­sis. With vo­ters still an­ge­red by the 2008 fi­nan­ci­al cri­sis and the na­ming of se­ve­r­al govern­ment fi­gu­res in an off­sho­re tax ha­ven scan­dal this year, Ice­lan­ders loo­ked to oust the cen­ter-right co­a­li­ti­on in its cur­rent form.

But ma­ny Ice­lan­ders op­ted for sta­bi­li­ty and the an­tie­s­ta­blish­ment Pi­ra­te Party, foun­ded by a group of in­ter­net ac­ti­vists, did not per­form as well as polls had in­di­ca­ted. Whi­le its sha­re of the vo­te tri­pled from the last elec­ti­on in 2013, it ca­me in on­ly third with 15 per­cent.

The Left-Gr­een Mo­ve­ment emer­ged as the se­cond-big­gest party whi­le the for­mer govern­ment Pro­gres­si­ve Party lost mo­re than half of its vo­tes. Its party lea­der re­sig­ned as pri­me mi­nis­ter on Sun­day, a for­ma­li­ty as the govern­ment did not get a ma­jo­ri­ty.

(Reuters/pho­to: reu­ter­s­me­dia.net)

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