Live Coverage

Today's News: Oct. 29, 2016

Bob Dylan breaks his Nobel silence, Clinton and Trump hit the campaign trail, and more from across the United States and around the world.

Robert Galbraith / Reuters

—Bob Dylan broke his cryptic silence about receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature two weeks ago in an interview with a British newspaper. Will he attend the ceremony? “Absolutely,” he said. “If it’s at all possible.”

—Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rojay received a narrow mandate from parliament to form a new government, ending 10 months of paralysis after two inconclusive elections.

—Icelandic voters are poised to hand the Pirate Party, a populist civil-libertarian party, the most seats in the Althing in Saturday’s parliamentary elections.

—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).


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Spain Forms a Government After 10-Month Stalemate

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, seated, attends the investiture debate at the Parliament in Madrid on October 29. (Susana Vera / Reuters)

Spain’s parliament re-elected Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday, ending 10 months of paralysis following two inconclusive elections last December and this June.

Neither Rajoy’s center-right People Party nor the opposition Socialist Party mustered a simple majority of seats in either general elections, forcing both sides into a protracted stalemate as they struggled to build coalitions with smaller parties to govern.

The stalemate ended when Ciudadanos, a centrist regional party from Catalonia, threw its support—and its 32 seats—behind Rajoy. The New York Times has more:

The Popular Party won the most votes in June’s election but, with just 137 of the 350 seats in Parliament, fell well short of a majority. The Socialists came in second, with 85 seats, their worst-ever result, but still sufficient for them to remain the largest left-wing political group, ahead of the far-left Podemos party.

In the coming weeks, Mr. Rajoy will present a budget for 2017 that will be the first major test of his ability to pass legislation without a parliamentary majority. He will be under pressure to make budgetary concessions to regional and left-wing parties, but his spending will be curtailed by deficit targets imposed by the European Union.

Mr. Rajoy is also under pressure to defuse a territorial dispute with Catalonia. Separatist parties control the Catalan regional Parliament and have pledged to hold an independence referendum by September, despite fierce opposition from Madrid and the courts.

Had legislators not granted Rajoy a slim mandate to govern, Spain would have been forced to call its third election in a year in an attempt to break the deadlock.

Iceland Poised to Elect Pirates to Parliament

Birgitta Jónsdóttir of the Pirate Party reacts as she votes during the parliamentary election in Reykjavik. (Geirix / Reuters)

Icelandic voters are heading to the polls Saturday as the country holds its first parliamentary elections since the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson in April.

Gunnlaugsson’s fall from power followed revelations in the Panama Papers, a cache of leaked documents from the corporate law firm Mossack Fonseca, that linked him to foreign creditors who profited from the collapse of Iceland’s banking sector.

Leading the latest opinion police is Iceland’s Pirate Party, a civil-libertarian party founded in 2012. It currently holds three seats in the Althing, Iceland’s parliament, but could emerge with the most seats of any party after the election. The Guardian has more:

Riding a wave of public anger at perceived political corruption in the wake of the 2008 financial crash and the Panama Papers scandal in April, the Pirate party campaigns for direct democracy, full government transparency, individual freedoms and the fight against corruption.

Its radical platform, which also includes decriminalising drugs, offering asylum to whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and relaxing restrictions on the use of the bitcoin virtual currency, has the backing of 21% of Icelanders, polls suggest, making it the country’s second-biggest party.

Its figurehead is Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a 49-year-old MP, poet and former WikiLeaks collaborator who has said she has no ambition to be prime minister but wants to sweep away a “corrupt and dysfunctional system.”

The election results will be announced Sunday morning local time.

Bob Dylan Breaks His Nobel Silence

Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Bob Dylan, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature earlier this month, finally acknowledged the honor on Friday. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the American folk bard said he might attend the awards ceremony in Stockholm in December.

“Absolutely,” he replied. “If it’s at all possible.”

Dylan cryptically did not elaborate on why he wouldn’t be able to attend. The Nobel Foundation subsequently released a statement that said Dylan had called the Nobel committee last week. “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless,” he said, according to the foundation. “I appreciate the honor so much.”

The Nobel committee announced Dylan had won literature’s most prestigious honor on October 13 for “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” He is the first musician to receive the prize. The choice caused a minor controversy within the literary world, with some praising the selection’s novelty while others dissented that a more traditional writer or poet was not honored instead.

Then followed silence. Dylan made only a brief, fleeting reference to the award on his website that day. To the foundation’s frustration, he also did not answer or return numerous calls from them. A committee member last week described his silence as “arrogant and impolite.”