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Iceland on track to form new government after vote

President Gudni Johannesson said, 'Katrin Jakobsdottir has received a new mandate today and will become, if possible, the future prime minister of a new government.' (Image courtesy: http://en.kremlin.ru) Photograph: (Others)

AFP Reykjav?k, Iceland Nov 28, 2017, 04.08 PM (IST)

Iceland is on course to form a three-party coalition, the president said Tuesday after tasking the leader of the Left-Green Movement with building a government for the second time in a month after a failed first round of talks.

"Katrin Jakobsdottir has received a new mandate today and will become, if possible, the future prime minister of a new government," President Gudni Johannesson told reporters in Reykjavik after meeting the 41-year-old leader. 

He said Jakobsdottir, former prime minister Bjarni Benediktsson of the conservative Independence Party and Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, leader of the centre-right Progressive Party, were "on track" to reach an agreement on forming a government.

"I'm very excited for this future government and I'm sure it's good for the prosperity of the nation and for society as a whole," said Jakobsdottir, who would become the nation's second woman prime minister. 

Icelandic media reports said the new coalition could be formed by the end of the week.  

Growing public distrust of the elite in recent years has spawned several anti-establishment parties, splintering the political landscape and making it increasingly difficult to form a stable government.

Under the Icelandic system, the president, who holds a largely ceremonial role, usually tasks the leader of the biggest party with putting a government together. 

But the Independence Party, which won the most seats in the October 28 election, and Benediktsson have been embroiled in a series of political scandals that have damaged their image. 

Left-Green Movement, which came second in the election, the Social Democratic Alliance and the anti-establishment Pirate party failed in their bid to form a government earlier this month. 

Jakobsdottir, whose image as a humble and honest politician has earned her popularity, has promised to make sure Iceland's economic prosperity, triggered by booming tourism, leads to a boost in public spending on health and education.

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