Iceland's president asks Pirate Party to form govt after others fail

Iceland's president asks Pirate Party to form govt after others fail
The Pirate Party in Iceland, who won seats in parliament earlier this year, have been asked to try to assemble a government coalition, after two other parties with more seats failed to do so.

The radical Pirate Party, headed by Birgitta Jonsdottir, was asked to form a government with other parties by the country's president, Gudni Johannesson, AP reported Friday, citing the president's office.

The two parties who came first and second in the parliamentary election in late October, the Independence Party and the Left-Greens, respectively, had already held talks to assemble a coalition, but to no avail. No party won an outright majority in the election.

The Pirate Party, founded four years ago by a group of internet activists and hackers, came third in the election, having won 10 out of 63 seats in the nation's parliament. They will now have to negotiate with four other parties, both centrists and left-wingers.

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According to Jonsdottir, the main issues on the agenda for the island nation are health care reforms and fishing rights, which have become sticking points for the lawmakers trying to form a coalition. The country has also suffered from troubles in its economy, after its banks collapsed during the 2008 global financial crisis.

Earlier this year, Iceland's then-prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, resigned amid a stir caused by the so-called Panama Papers. The leaked documents suggested that the politician was linked to offshore holdings and tax avoidance. His resignation in April triggered an early election, in which support for the Pirates, whose leader is a former whistleblowing WikiLeaks ally, surged.

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