Iceland’s government was poised to win a clear majority in Saturday’s election, partial results showed, though it remained to be seen if Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s left-right coalition would agree to continue in power together.
The three-party coalition has brought Iceland four years of stability after a decade of crises.
With more than a third of votes counted, Jakobsdottir’s Left-Green Movement, the conservative Independence Party and the centre-right Progressive Party were together credited with 41 of 63 seats in parliament, up from the 33 seats they held previously.
But the Left-Green Movement was seen losing ground to its right-wing partners, putting Jakobsdottir’s future as prime minister – and the coalition itself – in doubt.
“We will have to see how the governmental parties are doing together and how we are doing,” Jakobsdottir told the AFP news agency, as the partial results showed her party losing one seat in parliament from the 11 it won in 2017.
A clear picture of the political landscape was however only expected to emerge later on Sunday when all votes had been counted.
A total of eight parties are expected to win seats in the Althing, Iceland’s almost 1,100-year-old parliament.
The splintered political landscape makes it tricky to predict which parties could ultimately end up forming a coalition.
“I know that the results will be complicated, it will be complicated to form a new government,” Jakobsdottir said.
Independent Party candidate Bjarni Benediktsson casts his ballot at a polling station, in Gardabae, Iceland, Saturday, September 25, 2021 [Brynjar Gunnarsson/ AP]The largest party looked set to remain the Independence Party, whose leader Bjarni Benediktsson – the current finance minister and a former prime minister – is eyeing Jakobsdottir’s job.
It was seen gaining two seats, to 18.
“These numbers are good, (it’s a) good start to the evening,” he told public broadcaster RUV.
But the election’s big winner appeared to be the centre-right Progressive Party, which was seen gaining five seats, to 13.
Coalition to hold talks
If the partial results are confirmed, the Progressives would become Iceland’s second-biggest party, elbowing out the Left-Green Movement.
Party leader Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson declined to say whether he would consider building a minority two-party coalition government with the Independence Party.
“I will wait to comment on any possible government cooperation until we have clearer results,” he told public broadcaster RUV.
Eva Onnudottir, a political scientist at the University of Iceland, told AFP there was “a possibility” the current tripartite government would decide to carry on together.
“All the leaders of the three government parties have said they would naturally speak to each other if they would hold onto the majority after the election.”
People line-up to vote outside a polling station in Gardabae, Iceland, on September 25, 2021 [Brynjar Gunnarsson/ AP]However, the only reason the three look set to keep their majority is because of the strong showing on the right, while the left has lost support.
“What will the Left-Greens do with that? We will see,” she said.
With eight parties set to be represented in parliament, there are numerous coalition options for the parties to seek out.
‘Huge challenges’ ahead
During her four-year term, Jakobsdottir has introduced a progressive income tax system, increased the social housing budget and extended parental leave for both parents.
Broadly popular, she has also been hailed for her handling of the COVID-19 crisis, with just 33 deaths in the country of 370,000.
But she has also had to make concessions to keep the peace in her coalition, which may have cost her at the polls.
An election poster from the Social Democratic Alliance, saying “green attack” in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 [Brynjar Gunnarsson/ AP]She said Saturday that if returned to power, her party would focus on the “huge challenges we face to build the economy in a more green and sustainable way,” as well addressing the climate crisis where “we need to do radical things”.
This is only the second time since 2008 that a government has made it to the end of its four-year mandate on the sprawling island, and the first time since 2003 that a government has retained its majority.
Deep public distrust of politicians amid repeated scandals sent Icelanders to the polls five times from 2007 to 2017.
Outstanding Performance of NIC Funds Exceeds Expectations
The noticeable performance of the funds outperformed market benchmarks Hamad Al Humaidi: Mawarid Fund achieved a return of 34.82% outperforming local equities funds in Kuwait. Al Wataniya Fund recorded a good performance with a return of 28.88% bringing the returns to 299.08% since inception Al Darij Fund achieved a return of 22.50% by trading…
The noticeable performance of the funds outperformed market benchmarks
Hamad Al Humaidi:
Mawarid Fund achieved a return of 34.82% outperforming local equities funds in Kuwait.
Al Wataniya Fund recorded a good performance with a return of 28.88% bringing the returns to 299.08% since inception
Al Darij Fund achieved a return of 22.50% by trading in selective Shariah-compliant shares
Zajil Fund achieved a return of 18.83%
NIC has an active strategic approach to achieve the highest returns on the long term and reduce risks
Following launching of the service, NIC is a market maker in the shares of Boursa Kuwait and Gulf Cable
NIC was one of the first companies to obtain a Market Maker License in Boursa Kuwait
The diversified investment funds managed by National Investments Company (NIC) successfully achieved record performance ratios in the first ten months of 2021 thanks to the pioneering efforts made by its professional team and successful hands-on experience. These results helped NIC maintain its position as one of the leading investment institutions in Kuwait and the region.
NIC, a leading investment company in Kuwait and the region in terms of performance and AUM, announced that the performance of its investment funds outperformed their benchmarks in 2021, despite the ongoing Covid-19 effects on the financial markets.
In a press release, NIC praised the outstanding performance of its investment funds which reflected the sound approach and the prudent management of a work team with extensive expertise and a proven track record of achievements in managing local and regional portfolios and investment funds.
EVP MENA Securities Sector at NIC, Hamad Al Humaidi said that according to the monthly fund information published by Boursa Kuwait Co. on website, Mawarid Industrial and Petroleum Services Fund achieved strong performance and outstanding results, recording a return of 34.82%. Mawarid aims to provide capital appreciation and income to its shareholders by investing in Kuwaiti and Arab Shariah-compliant listed and unlisted equities in the industrial and petroleum service sectors.
He added that Mawarid fund, established in 2006, aims to provide maximum expected return on a risk-adjusted basis by investing in Shariah-compliant listed and unlisted equities in the industrial and petroleum services sectors and provide diversification among the industrial and petroleum services sector in Kuwait and GCC based on liquidity, capital appreciation and dividend yield.
Al Wataniya Fund
Al-Humaidi said that Al Wataniya Fund achieved a return of 28.88% as of end of October 2021, bringing the returns to 299.08% since inception. He added that Al Wataniya maintained its good rank among the large-sized funds category of more than KD 50 million.
He explained that Al Wataniya fund established in 2001, is one of the top-performing local funds that invest in listed and unlisted equities on Boursa Kuwait. The Fund selects good-performing companies from different sectors with the aim of achieving good returns for subscribers. Al Humaidi added that Al Wataniya continues to seize the best investment opportunities and benefit from them.
He said that Al Wataniya performance is excellent compared to the size of net assets of other funds. Al Wataniya is one of the biggest investment funds in Kuwait with a net assets value of KD 160 MN. The Fund also aims to invest in the blue-chip stocks with rewarding returns, solid management and a clear future vision, which greatly resulted in the stability of the level of its dividends and bonuses.
Al Darij Fund
“Established in 2003, Al Darij Fund achieved a return of 22.50% as of end of October 2021. The Fund aims to maximize the expected return by trading primarily in selective listed and unlisted Shariah-compliant equities in Kuwait and GCC markets.” Al Humaidi added.
He said that Al Draij fund aims to achieve the highest returns on a risk-adjusted basis by trading in listed and unlisted Shariah-compliant equities in Kuwait and the GCC and achieving returns for subscribers higher than those of traditional Islamic deposits.
Al Humaidi said that Zajil Services & Telecommunications Fund achieved a good return of 18.83% in the first ten months of 2021. The fund established in 2004, aims to achieve maximum expected return to subscribers and to invest in listed and unlisted equities in the services and telecommunications sectors in Kuwait and the Arab region, which abide by Islamic Shariah.
He pointed out that the Fund seeks to achieve capital appreciation and maximum potential return on a risk-adjusted basis by trading equities in the services and telecommunications sectors which abide by Islamic Shariah. It also provides diversification among Kuwaiti and Arab equities in the service and telecommunications sectors based on liquidity, capital appreciation and dividend yield.
Managed by a specialized investment team with extensive experience, the Fund provides a single investment tool with the objective of achieving returns higher than those of traditional Islamic deposits, creating a liquid vehicle for investors wishing to benefit from the potential returns of an investment fund dedicated to Islamic guidelines.
Al Humaidi expressed his happiness with the good performance of NIC funds achieved in the first ten months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. He pointed out that successful investment requires a number of factors and basic qualifications such as investment experience, professional management and comprehensive and diligent follow-up of all news and decisions that affect the financial markets.
He said that NIC has an active strategic approach to achieve best returns in the long term by reducing the risks of stock markets and maximizing potential returns. This was evident in the performance of NIC funds during 2021.
On the other hand, Al Humaidi said that NIC launched successfully the “Market Maker” in Boursa Kuwait starting August 2021. The Boursa Kuwait Co, share was selected to be the first practice of this service, with the Gulf Cable Co. following suite. More companies are expected to be added in the near future.
He added that NIC was one of the first companies to obtain a Market Maker License in Boursa Kuwait, after passing the final tests of Boursa Kuwait Co. following signing the activity practice agreement with Boursa Co.
He added that the Market Maker system has become a cornerstone in the financial markets, contributing to diversifying investment options and addressing the defects that dominated the market when past individual trades were based on rumors and unjustified speculation. It also contributes to attracting more local and foreign institutional investments and restores the ability to quickly liquidate, which is one of the most important functions of financial markets.
Al Humaidi stressed that NIC focuses on understanding the dynamic needs of clients with the objective of improving services and products and identifying appropriate new investment opportunities given the current market conditions. He added that NIC aims to maintain a research-based approach, anticipate trends, improve clients’ investment position and achieve their goals, ensure developing innovative products, expand its business reach, and achieve high-performance results in the coming years.
Kuwait Times Sunday, November 28, 2021
Daily E- Paper – Kuwait Times Click above icon to download full news paper The post Kuwait Times Sunday, November 28, 2021 appeared first on Kuwait Times.
Israel to ban entry of all foreigners over Omicron variant
Ban, which is pending government approval, will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday.Israel says it will ban the entry of all foreigners into the country, making it the first nation to shut its borders completely in response to a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant. In a statement on Saturday, Prime…
Ban, which is pending government approval, will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday.Israel says it will ban the entry of all foreigners into the country, making it the first nation to shut its borders completely in response to a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant.
In a statement on Saturday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days.
Officials hope that within that period there will be more information on how effective COVID-19 vaccines are against Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa and has been dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.
“Our working hypotheses are that the variant is already in nearly every country,” Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told N12’s Meet the Press. “And that the vaccine is effective, although we don’t yet know to what degree.”
The ban will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday. A travel ban on foreigners coming from most African states was imposed on Friday.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, called the new measures “extremely stringent” and said they marked a major reversal of a policy that allowed in foreign tourists at the beginning of November.
“They are the result of a late night emergency meeting of the coronavirus cabinet, which took place on Saturday evening after a brief announcement from Naftali Bennett that Israel needed to act very quickly in the midst of all this uncertainty and not risk the progress already gained against the coronavirus.”
The new measures will also require all Israelis entering the country, including those who are vaccinated, to quarantine.
Fawcett said Israelis who are vaccinated will have to quarantine for a minimum of three days, while those who are unvaccinated will have to quarantine for seven days.
He added, “And if coming back from one of the newly red-listed African countries, they will have to go into a government quarantine hotel, until they test negative.”
Separately, Bennett, the Israeli prime minister, said that the Shin Bet counterterrorism agency’s phone-tracking technology will be used to locate carriers of the new variant to curb its transmission to others.
Used on and off since March 2020, the surveillance technology matched virus carriers’ locations against other mobile phones nearby to determine with whom they had come into contact.
Israel’s Supreme Court this year limited the scope of its use after civil rights groups mounted challenges over privacy concerns.
The variant, which has also been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, has sparked global concern and a wave of travel curbs, although epidemiologists say such restrictions may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally.
Israel has so far confirmed one case of Omicron, with seven suspected cases.
The Health Ministry has not said whether the person in the confirmed case was vaccinated. Three of the seven people in the suspected cases were fully vaccinated, the ministry said on Saturday, and three had not returned from travel abroad recently.
About 57 percent of Israel’s 9.4 million population is fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry, which means they have either received a third shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or it has not yet been five months since they received their second dose.
Israel has recorded 1.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 8,000 fatalities since the pandemic began.