November 15, 2016 / 7:41 PM / 3 years ago

Iceland's Independence Party fails to form government

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - Iceland’s Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson said on Tuesday he had failed to form a governing coalition and that the ball was now in the president’s court.

President Gudni Johannesson gave the mandate to Benediktsson earlier this month after the Independence Party emerged as the biggest party in the Oct. 29 election.

The president is now expected to ask the Left Green’s Katrin Jakobsdottir to try to form a coalition. She told local media she was called by the president to a meeting on Wednesday.

She would then likely try to form a centre-left government consisting of the anti-establishment Pirate Party, the Social Democratic Alliance, Bright Future and the Reform Party.

The newly formed Reform Party and Bright Future were the parties the Independence Party had hoped to form a coalition with.

“I do not have parties to form a majority government with, so the situation is up in the air,” Benediktsson told reporters after a meeting with the president.

“The next steps are in the hands of the president and we just have to see what happens.”

Stumbling blocks in the negotiations with the Reform Party and Bright Future had been fisheries quota policies and the issue of EU membership, with the Independence party being eurosceptics.

Reporting by Ragnhildur Sigurdadottir; Writing by Daniel Dickson; editing by Mark Heinrich

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