Europe

Independence Party given mandate to form Iceland government

FILE - A Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 file photo of Bjarni Benediktsson of The Independence Party gesturing after the first results of the election in Reykjavik, Iceland. Iceland’s president on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016,  asked the center-right Independence Party to form a government after it won the biggest share of votes in the country's election. President Gudni Th. Johannessson said giving a mandate to Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson was the "most viable option" for getting a stable government for the Atlantic island nation.  (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

FILE - A Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 file photo of Bjarni Benediktsson of The Independence Party gesturing after the first results of the election in Reykjavik, Iceland. Iceland’s president on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, asked the center-right Independence Party to form a government after it won the biggest share of votes in the country's election. President Gudni Th. Johannessson said giving a mandate to Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson was the "most viable option" for getting a stable government for the Atlantic island nation. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)  (The Associated Press)

Iceland's president has asked the center-right Independence Party to form a government after it won the biggest share of votes in the country's election.

President Gudni Th. Johannessson said Wednesday that giving a mandate to Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson was the "most viable option" for getting a stable government for the Atlantic island nation.

The Independence Party — half of a coalition that has governed since 2013 — won 21 of 63 parliament seats in Saturday's election, and will need coalition partners to govern. It could seek support from the conservative Progressive Party and the centrist Regeneration party.

The election saw voters reject the Progressive Party — tainted by Panama Papers revelations about accounts in offshore tax havens — and boost the votes for the Left-Green Movement and the anti-authoritarian Pirate Party.