Iceland's center-right Independence, Reform and Bright Future parties agreed on Tuesday to form a coalition government after a two-month impasse and said they would ask parliament whether to hold a referendum on joining the European Union. The three coalition parties together hold 32 of the 63 seats in parliament, just enough to form a majority government. Bjarni Benediktsson, leader of the Independence Party, which won 21 seats in the Oct. 29 election that saw support rise for the anti-establishment Pirate Party, will be prime minister while Reform's Benedikt Johannesson will be finance minister. The government will give parliament a vote on whether to hold a referendum on restarting EU membership talks. Initial soundings from party representatives suggested Icelandic lawmakers would say yes to a referendum, although an opinion poll in December showed a majority of Icelanders were opposed to joining the EU.
Source:Egypt Independent January 11, 2017 13:08 UTC