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Posted by SlavEU | Европа

The political landscape of Iceland has changed, according to preliminary results from Saturday’s election.

The Independence Party, which has won almost every election since independence from Denmark in 1944, is losing its center-right grip thanks to two scandals. Stepping in to that void are left-leaning parties.

Part of the current ruling coalition, the Independence Party, won 26 percent of the vote, down 3 percentage points from last year.

The main opposition Left Green Movement came in second with 17 percent of the vote.

The newly formed Center Party of former Prime Minister David Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson was third with 11 percent of the ballots. Gunnlaugsson was forced out of office last year when his name was found in the Panama Papers scandal that exposed worldwide tax evasion networks.

Katrin Jakobsdottir, leader of the Left Green Movement, told Reuters she is not ruling out working with the new Center Party. 

“Nothing is out of the picture, but our first choice is to work with the parties on the left,” she said. “We’d hoped that the opposition would get a majority, but that is unclear now.”

Talks to form a ruling coalition government are expected to last for several months.

Current Iceland Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, a member of the Independence Party, called the election last month after a member of the three-party center-right coalition resigned over a controversy about granting clemency to a child molester.

The clemency scandal coupled with the Panama Papers scandal led to the collapse of the government, prompting the second snap parliamentary election in a year.

Iceland has recovered spectacularly from the 2008 financial crisis, which forced the country into near bankruptcy. But the scandals have fueled anger and distrust among voters, who are increasingly concerned about inequality and immigration threatening one of the world’s most homogeneous countries.

Iceland’s 63-member parliament is one of the oldest in the world.

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