November 23, 2016 / 6:27 PM / in 2 years

Iceland's Left-Greens suspend talks on coalition government

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Iceland’s Left-Greens have suspended talks with four other parties on forming a coalition government, the movement’s leader said on Wednesday, after disagreements including over funding for healthcare and education.

Katrin Jakobsdottir told news site Visir she had not decided whether she would give up on trying to form a new government by handing back the mandate given to her by Iceland’s president.

After the talks to try to resolve differences over to how fund increases in spending on welfare and education, as well as other issues, Jakobsdottir told Icelandic television that “not all the parties ... have the necessary conviction to continue to these talks to form a government”.

“Therefore, I have decided that these talks are over.”

The five parties - the Left-Green Movement, the Pirate Party, Bright Future, the Reform Party and the Social Democratic Alliance - have been in discussions after the center-right Independence Party failed to form a government following October’s election.

The Left-Greens want to hike taxes to pay for welfare and education.

The Independence Party was the biggest after the Oct. 29 vote, with the Left-Greens the second largest. The Pirate Party, which polls had forecast could upset the traditional political order, was third.

Pirate Party head Birgitta Jonsdottir told Icelandic television she would try to form a government if Iceland’s president asked her to do so.

“But then we must find some other way than the one we are faced with now, for the reason that none of these parties seems to be able to work together,” she said.

Reporting by Stockholm Newsroom; Editing by Alison Williams

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