The president has formally granted Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, leader of the Progressive Party, the mandate to begin talks to form a new government. President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson announced his decision after holding a meeting with Sigmundur Davíð late this morning.
According to Vísir, the president’s main reasons included the force of the Progressive Party’s comeback in Saturday’s elections. While the Independence Party won an equal number of seats, the Progressives’ victory was more resounding as they doubled their representation since the last election in 2009.
The president also stated that leaders of the other elected parties, with whom he met yesterday, weighed heavily in favour of Sigmundur Davíð. Both Árni Páll Árnason, leader of the Social Democratic Alliance, and the Pirate Party’s Birgitta Jónsdóttir, held that the mandate should go to Sigmundur as opposed to the Independence Party’s Bjarni Benediktsson.
At a press conference held after the meeting, Sigmundur Davíð said that he would meet with the leaders of all the elected parties before opening formal talks on forming a new government. He re-iterated his demand that formal talks would have to be built on his election promise to cut mortgage rates, though he said he was open to hearing different schemes for implementing the proposal.