Conservatives Establish Libertarian Centre

23.7.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
Some of Iceland's more prominent conservatives have established a libertarian "research centre" with the purported mission to fight for market freedom and against government intervention.

The centre, called the Research Centre for Innovation and Growth (RNH), DV reports, will occupy the same building as The Public Book Society (Almenna bókafélagið), a group established in 1955 with the expressed purpose of "balancing out" what its founders saw as too leftist an influence at Mál og Menning. In fact, Jónas Sigurgeirsson - who is the managing director of the Public Book Society - is also the managing director of RNH.

RNH has on its board political science professor Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurarson (shown above), Independence Party managing director Jónmundur Guðmarsson and, as the chairman of the board, economist Ragnar Árnason. In addition, Friðbjörn Orri Ketilsson will be the webmaster for the group. Friðbjörn is also the webmaster for amx.is, a conservative website featuring mostly anonymously-written articles.

The owners of the Public Book Society, with whom RNH will be working in close cooperation, are Ármann Þorvaldsson, the former manager of Kaupþing Singer & Friedlander in London; Kjartan Gunnarsson, former managing director of the Independence Party and Landsbanki; and Baldur Guðlaugsson, currently serving a two-year prison sentence for insider trading.

Both Jónas and Hannes, when contacted by DV, said that the group will have nothing to hide with regards to what work they hope to achieve. However, financing behind the group will remain closed from public view.

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