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Iceland's leftist parties fail to form government

© AFP/File | Left-Green leader Katrin Jakobsdottir failed to form a coalition government in Iceland

Iceland's leftist parties have failed to form a coalition government, the leader of the Left-Green party leader said Monday, after a snap election in late October left no party close to a majority.

"I do not have a majority behind me," Katrin Jakobsdottir told reporters after meeting with Iceland's president Gudni Johannesson.

Johannesson had tasked the former journalist, whose party came second in an election that saw a record eight parties win seats, to form a government.

Jakobsdottir, whose party won 11 seats, then entered into talks with the Social Democratic Alliance, the anti-establishment Pirate Party and Progressive Party, needing to cobble 32 out of 63 seats in parliament.

"The discussions went well and I had the confidence of the other parties' leaders," Jakobsdottir said on Facebook.

"However, putting in place such a small majority posed a problem for the Progressive Party," and the talks unravelled, she said.

The president said in a statement that he would "sound out" party leaders before instructing the next one to try and form a government.

Under the Icelandic system, the president, who holds a largely ceremonial role, usually charges the leader of the biggest party with putting a government together.

But though outgoing Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson's conservative Independence Party came out on top in the elections, his party has been tainted by scandals in recent years, and lost almost a quarter of its seats.

Benediktsson called the snap election on October 28 after a junior member of his centre-right coalition quit over a legal scandal involving Benediktsson's father.

Growing public distrust of the elite in recent years has spawned several anti-establishment parties, splintering the political landscape and making it increasingly difficult to form a stable government.


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