In Brief

Iceland elects new left-leaning government

Snap election followed a wave of political scandals

Iceland could be on course for the second left-leaning government in its history, after the ruling right-wing coalition lost its majority in a tightly-fought election.

After the Nordic island’s second snap poll in a year, the conservative Independence party of outgoing Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson remains the Althing parliament’s largest. But it lost five of its 21 seats, opening the door for its main opponent, the Left-Green Movement, to form a coalition.

 The election followed a string of political scandals, most recently an alleged attempt by Benediktsson to cover up efforts by his father to help “restore the honour” of a convicted child sex offender.

Earlier this month, The Guardian revealed that Benediktsson sold millions of krona of assets in a major Icelandic bank’s investment fund just as the state was about to seize control of the country’s failing financial sector in 2008.

Sunday’s vote came just ten months after the last election, prompted by the resignation of former prime minister Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson, who stepped down after revelations in the Panama Papers that his family had sheltered money offshore.

It is now up to Left-Green Movement party leader Katrin Jakobsdottir to forge a left-of-centre alliance with the Social Democrats, the Progressive Party and the Pirate Party, which would together hold 32 seats – the slimmest possible majority in the 63-seat Althing.

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