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Icelandic Pirate Party sails away from attempt to form government

Can any of ye scurvy dogs find 33 votes, asks increasingly frustrated president

Iceland's Pirate Party (Píratar) has sailed away from an attempt to form a government for the nation.

Píratar was given a mandate to form government after Iceland's elections ended in a stalemate and the two parties that won more votes were unable to cobble together a working majority.

President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson therefore asked Píratar to have a go at forming a governing coalition.

A week of talks among left-leaning parties ensued, but the Pirate Party now says very little common ground could be found, leaving Píratar with no chance of securing its open government agenda. Pirate leader Birgitta Jónsdóttir therefore returned the mandate to president Jóhannesson.

Píratar's failure to form government means six weeks have passed since Iceland's election without any sign a working majority can be found to control the 63-seat Alþingi, the nation's parliament.

President Jóhannesson's statement (PDF in Icelandic) announcing the Pirates have sailed away conveys a little desperation. He describes the situation as “serious” and has now given all parties the chance to form a coalition, plus a deadline of “this week” to sort something out.

Iceland's constitution says Parliament “shall convene not later than ten weeks after its dissolution” and as the election took place on October 29th, the clock is ticking loudly now.

Píratar has maintained its position of wishing to influence the direction of Iceland's democracy, rather than taking power. If a working government cannot be formed, the nation will likely stage another election. As the Pirates' support dipped markedly over recent months, it could conceivably find its 10 elected members marooned at a new poll. ®

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