Iceland's radical Pirate party, which has vowed to stamp out corruption and use online polls to form its policies, has been asked to form the country's next government, the Telegraph has learned.
The Nordic country's political system has been gridlocked since October's election as no single party managed to win a clear majority - though the Pirates saw their number of seats increase threefold.
"The president gave us the mandate today to lead the government formation," Halldora Mogensen, a newly elected Pirate Party MP, told the Telegraph.
"We have the mandate to start official talks about forming the government. We don't want to necessarily lead anything but rather work towards a collaboration on equal grounds."
Negotiations on forming a new government to rule Iceland are at stalemate, with some predicting the country may remain without a government for some time to come.
“Coalition negotiations are currently in deadlock,” says leader of Regeneration Benedikt Jóhannesson. “In addition to which, there is now extra parliamentary workload, so people are not getting much time to talk to each other.”
“I am not necessarily optimistic that a government will be in place by Christmas,” says Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Prime Minister in Iceland’s current caretaker government.
Successive attempts at bringing together a majority government have been made by three party leaders since the general elections on 29 October and all have ended in failure.
Captain of the Pirate Party Birgitta Jónsdóttir announced shortly before 3 pm today that she intends to return the mandate to lead government formation talks back to President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson at 5 pm today, ruv.is reports.
After a two-hour meeting between the leaders of the Pirate Party, Left-Green Movement, Reform Party, Bright Future and Social Democratic Alliance at noon, it became clear that an agreement on a five-party coalition will not be reached and formal talks will not be launched.
Birgitta explained that the parties had disagreed too strongly on certain issues for a compromise to be achieved, especially in terms of fisheries.
Birgitta received the president’s mandate ten days ago. She was the third party representative after Bjarni Benediktsson, chair of the Independence Party, and Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chair of the Left-Greens, to receive the mandate.
So far, all coalition government talks have shattered. After Katrín returned the mandate, Guðni asked that all party leaders discuss a possible solution to the looming government crisis among themselves before handing out the mandate to one of them.
The parliamentary election took place on October 29. Last week, parliament reconvened, even though a new coalition government has yet to be forged.
The informal talks held under the guidance of the Pirate Party over the last ten days between Iceland’s five opposition parties have fallen through and will not lead to formal coalition negotiations.
Successive attempts at bringing together a majority government have been made since the general elections on 29 October and all have ended in failure.
Representatives of Bright Future, the Left-Green Movement the Pirate Party, Regeneration the Social Democratic Alliance met after midday today to take a final decision on whether or not to proceed with formal coalition talks and break the current political deadlock.
Reports suggest that four of the five parties had approved the commencement of formal talks, with only the Left-Greens not having done so.
Pirate MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir will be meeting the President of Iceland at 5pm today to renounce the official mandate he had given her to try and form a government.
Iceland’s Pirate Party have announced that they will be commencing coalition talks with other political parties today, after Pirate MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir was given the presidential mandate to form a government on Friday.
It is not yet known with which parties the Pirates are planning to negotiate or whether the talks will be formal or informal in nature.
The party appears to be taking a measured approached to a task viewed by many as exceeding urgent and pressing. Members of the parliamentary party spent all weekend discussing the issues between themselves, with no representatives of any other parties involved.
“We don’t want this this to be a rushed or botched job. We want to do things properly,” says Pirate MP Einar Aðalsteinn Brynjólfsson.
“Of course, it is time for a new government to be formed – otherwise we could be heading for a constitutional crisis. The current government is a caretaker government with a limited mandate.”
Brynjólfsson also confirms that the Pirates’ preferred choice remains a five-party grand alliance of parties from the left, centre, and right – to the exclusion of the current two governing parties. Such a coalition was attempted last month by leader of the Left-Greens Katrín Jakobsdóttir, but formal negotiations were ultimately unsuccessful.
“I am optimistic that forming this five-party government will go better this time around,” he says.
Icelandic voters will have to wait until the end of this week to know whether formal coalition talks to put together a new government can begin.
38 days have passed since Icelanders went to the polls to vote in a new set of MPs to the national parliament. Two attempts at forming a majority government have already fallen through.
Iceland’s Pirate Party – who came third in the elections – have now been given the presidential mandate to form a government, but have announced that it will take the rest of this week to come to a decision on starting formal talks.
The Pirate Party favour a grand coalition of the five parties not part of the current outgoing government.
The group of five held informal talks yesterday, and will meet again today, but the Pirates have already announced that no decision on whether to move to a formal process of putting together a coalition will be taken until the end of the week
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the President of Iceland has handed the mandate to form a new government to Birgitta Jónsdóttir, the leader of the Pirate Party, the local news site visir.is reports. Birgitta is the third party leader who is granted the mandate to form a government.
Pirates won't demand Prime Minister's office
KATRÍN JAKOBSDÓTTIR The chairwoman of the Left-greens had previously tried to form a five party center-left coalition. Photo/Frikki Þór
The Pirate party came in third in the October 29 elections, with 10 MPs and 14.5% of the vote. It remains to be seen whether Birgitta will be able to break the impasse in Icelandic politics. Birgitta Jónsdóttir told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚVthat she believed it was possible to reach an agreement on a five party center-left coalition, despite the fact that a previous attempt by Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the chairwoman of the Left-green movement, having failed to hammer out an agreement between the five parties.
Birgitta told RÚV that the Pirate party did not enter the negotiations with the demand that she, or the party, be handed the office of Prime Minister. The party was also interested in getting the office of the Speaker of Parliament, an office which makes the ultimate decision on the procedures of debate in parliament. The Pirate party has stressed the need to reform how Parliament and the government in general operates.
Disagreements over tax-hikes and reforms
The main area of disagreement between the five centrist and left wing parties are taxes and reforms to the fisheries and agriculture. The Left-greens have stressed the need to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations, especially the fisheries, to fund investments in healthcare, education and infrastructure. The centrist restoration has opposed tax hikes. The five parties also disagree on how to reform the system of individually transferrable quotas in the fisheries. While the centrist parties and the Pirate party prefer a market-based solution, where the quotas are auctioned off to the highest bidder, the Left-greens have stressed command and control approaches.
Government crisis looms
PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR TURNED PRESIDENTGuðni Th. Jóhannesson is a former professor of history at the University of Iceland. Photo/Anton BrinkPreviously the chairmen of the two largest parties in Parliament, the conservative Independence party and the Left-green movement, had failed to form a government. Since Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chairwoman of the Left-greens, returned the mandate one week ago no party leader has had the mandate, as the President told party leaders that they should take time to engage in informal talks to find common ground before formal talks could resume.
Despite the parties having spent the five weeks since the October 29 elections in negotiations no coalition government seems to be in sight. Iceland is basically facing a government crisis, many have pointed out. At a press conference at Bessastaðir, the President's residence, the President of Iceland rejected such claims, pointing out there were plenty of historical precedents for negotiations taking a long time, RÚV reports. Guðni Th. is a former professor of history at the University of Iceland and a presidential scholar.
Parliament has been called into session on December 6 to pass a budget for the upcoming year.
Icelandic President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson has given Pirate Captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir the mandate to form a government, RÚV reports.
“I’m hopeful that all of us will find a way to cooperate,” Birgitta stated after her meeting with the president. She said nothing had changed during talks between the five parties, which previously failed to reach an agreement to form a government. They are, in addition to the Pirate Party, the Left-Green Movement, the Reform Party, Bright Future and the Social Democratic Alliance. Birgitta stressed that this is the cooperation of five parties. The most important issues that need to be addressed, she stated, are the health care system and the situation in the labor market
Icelandic President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson has invited Pirate Captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir to meet him at his office on Sóleyjargata, Reykjavík, at 4 pm today, Vísir reports. A press conference is scheduled following their meeting.
The purpose of their meeting has not been announced, but it is thought likely that the president will give Birgitta the mandate to form a government.
Earlier today, the president met with the leaders of all seven parties represented in parliament, one by one. Representing the Pirate Party, Birgitta, Smári McCarty and Einar Brynjólfsson all met with the president, after which Birgitta told reporters that forming a national government was, in her view, completely premature.
Since the October 29 election, attempts to form a government have been unsuccessful. Three combinations have been tested: a three-party center-right coalition; a five-party center-left coalition; and a coalition of the Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement .
(CNN)Oh, not those kinds of pirates. Darn it.
Perhaps life in Iceland would be even more interesting if governmental control were given to swashbuckling pirates, but the Pirate Party isn't into plundering and pillaging. As far as we know.
Still, it makes for a curious headline when you hear that Iceland's president is telling the nation's relative newcomer Pirate Party to form a new government.
More well-known parties from the left and right failed, so now it is up to the Pirates.
President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson met Friday with Pirate Party Chairwoman Birgitta Jónsdóttir, giving her the mandate to start negotiations to form a new government, a statement on the website for the president's office said.
In Iceland, the mandate to form a government requires the party charged to negotiate with the other parties to form the government.
If Jónsdóttir -- formerly with WikiLeaks -- and the Pirate Party reach an agreement with the other parties, it is likely that Jónsdóttir will be given the post of prime minister.
"Historical opportunity to focus on reforms. Super excited and humbled by this chance. We will do our best," she said on Facebook.
Pirate MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir has been formally mandated by the President of Iceland to form a government following recent general elections, it has just been announced.
Jónsdóttir was summoned to the presidential residential of Bessastaðir at 4pm to meet Iceland’s President Jóhannesson. After the short meeting, Jóhannesson announced to journalists that Jónsdóttir was his next choice to attempt to put together a majority coalition.
The Pirate Party came third in the general elections held over a month ago, and Jónsdóttir is the third party representative to receive this presidential mandate. The leaders of the Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement have both previously tried and failed to cobble together a working government.
The Pirates have ten MPs in the new parliament and must secure a coalition commanding at least 32 to be able to forge a majority government.
Election 2016 Results
Invalid/blank votes 5,574
In brief | Pirate Party
What: A pro-free speech, anti-authoritarian political party in Iceland
Founders: A group of anarchists, hackers and internet-freedom activists
Leader: The party eschews formal leaders but Birgitta Jonsdottir is the most senior of three Pirate lawmakers in Iceland’s parliament
“I would like everybody in Iceland to find the pirate within, because the pirate within really represents change and a collective vision for the future.”
- Birgitta Jonsdottir, Pirate Party lawmaker