Coalition Talks Inching Forward Skip to content
Photo: Golli. Finance Minister Bjarni Ben presents the government’s third economic response package, April 2020.

Coalition Talks Inching Forward

Talks between the leaders of the three political parties, who have led the coalition government since 2017, persisted at the Minister’s Residence yesterday. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Bjarni Benediktsson, and Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson continue to hold their cards close to their vest.

A majority extended

After the results of the parliamentary elections were called (notwithstanding a few lawsuits demanding a recount), it was clear that the previous three-party coalition government would keep their majority (with 37 MPs out of the total 63). Immediately afterwards, the leaders of the three parties iterated their intentions of beginning negotiations to keep the coalition together.

As reported by Mbl.is, other members of the coalition parties have stated that the negotiations are currently and entirely in the hands of the leadership. They expect, however, to be called to the table when a framework for the government agreement has been sketched, possibly next week.

The “difficult issues” causing a delay

The members stressed that the parties would be allowed sufficient time to resolve “difficult issues” lingering from the previous term before composing a new government agreement. These matters of contention – including the highland national park and questions regarding energy consumption – have, however, proved more time-consuming than expected.

As noted by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir on Tuesday, the leadership remains optimistic in its ability to resolve these issues but is not willing to offer a clear timeline regarding the agreement. “We have learned from experience the value of a carefully-composed government agreement.”

Katrín was also unwilling to say whether the relative success of the Progressive Party during the last election would translate into greater influence. “The reason why this coalition has been so successful is that we’ve approached things as equals; that’s how we’ve been able to resolve contentious matters.”

The negotiations between leaders of the three coalition parties are expected to adjourn over the weekend.

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