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Iceland leans toward leftist government

Sunday, October 29, 2017 - 01:36

Icelanders voted in favor of a left-leaning four-party coalition in parliamentary elections, a final vote count showed Sunday, although it remained unclear who would get a mandate to form the next government. Saskia O'Donoghue reports.

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Icelanders have voted in favor of a left-leaning four-party coalition in snap parliamentary elections as the final results were announced on Sunday. The coalition, made up of the Left-Green Movement, the Social Democrats, the Progressive Party and the Pirate Party won 32 seats in the 63-member parliament. That's the narrowest possible majority. It still remains unclear who will get a mandate to form the next government though. The Independence Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, remained the biggest party with 25 percent of the votes but suffered a setback. Benediktsson was weakened by fallout from an attempt by his father to vouch for the character of a convicted paedophile. The vote is said to have been an attempt to oust his center-right government after the scandal. This was the second election in a year. The 2016 vote took place after Panama Papers revelations showed several government figures involved in an offshore tax haven scandal. The Nordic island of 340,000 people, one of the countries hit hardest by the 2008 global financial crisis, has staged a remarkable economic turnaround spurred by tourism. But scandals, a growing sense of inequality and worries over immigration threaten stability in one of the world's most homogeneous nations. President Gudni Johannesson has yet to hand the mandate to the party that will be tasked with forming the next government. It's standard practice to give the mandate to the head of the biggest party.

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Iceland leans toward leftist government

Sunday, October 29, 2017 - 01:36