Striking out: Pirate Party fails to form new govt in Iceland

AP News
Posted: Dec 13, 2016 6:56 AM
Striking out: Pirate Party fails to form new govt in Iceland

LONDON (AP) — Iceland's anti-authoritarian Pirate Party said Tuesday it has struck out in attempts to form a center-left government — the third failed round of coalition talks since an election six weeks ago.

Senior Pirate lawmaker Birgitta Jonsdottir said "it's with great sadness that I have to report that we failed" to forge a coalition with four other parties.

The Pirates, who seek direct democracy and digital freedom, came third in Iceland's Oct. 29 parliamentary election.

No party won an outright majority, and President Gudni Johannesson asked the first-placed Independence Party and then the second-placed Left-Greens to try to assemble a coalition. Both failed, so the Pirates were given a chance.

Jonsdottir said on Facebook that the parties had "agreed on so many fundamental issues" during 10 days of talks, but stalled on key topics.

The Pirate Party, founded four years ago by an assortment of hackers, political activists and internet freedom advocates, tripled its vote and won 10 seats in Iceland's 63-seat Parliament in October.

Support for the upstart Pirates surged amid public anger at former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson's offshore holdings, which were revealed in the Panama Papers leak. Gunnlaugsson resigned in April, triggering an early election.

It was not immediately clear whether the latest stalemate would lead to a new election.