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Conservatives Back in Power?

Published September 22, 2010

Great divisiveness between the Social Democrats and the Leftist-Greens over whether or not former ministers should stand trial for negligence has brought up talk of new elections, or even a new coalition formed comprised of Social Democrats and the Independence Party – the same two parties who were driven from power in early 2009.
As reported, the parliamentary committee was originally assembled with the knowledge and approval of the prime minister and given the task to investigate which, if any, former ministers should stand trial in a national court for their part in the economic collapse. Their conclusion was that two conservatives – former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and former Minister of Finance Árni M. Mathiesen – and two Social Democrats – former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir and former Minister of Business Björgvin G. Sigurðsson – should stand trial for negligence. A recent poll on the matter showed that a strong majority of Icelanders fully support the idea.
However, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, also a Social Democrat, told parliament that she doubts that pressing charges against them would accomplish anything, and that they could not have prevented the economic collapse.
The remarks have sparked a catalyst of reactions that could lead to new elections, or even a new coalition.
Atli Gíslason, chairman of the parliamentary committee, told Vísir that if a parliamentary majority does not pass a measure calling for the four former minister to stand trial, that new elections should be held.
In fact, many Leftist-Greens, Progressives, and MPs for The Movement have expressed disappointment with the prime minister’s remarks, which they see as her protecting members of her own party, and many wondering why she has waited until now to say anything about the work the committee was assigned to do.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an MP for The Movement, called the Prime Minister’s remarks “predictable spin”, and said that she ought to apologize to parliament for it. Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, chairman of the Progressive Party, told RÚV that new elections were indeed discussed in parliament yesterday, as was the formation of a new coalition, comprised of the Social Democrats and the Independence Party: the same two parties that were driven from power in the wake of popular protests in early 2009.
The Leftist-Green Party officially disagrees with the prime minister, with Leftist-Green chairman Steingrímur J. Sigfússon telling reporters that he was pleased with the work that the committee has done.
A vote on the matter is expected today.



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Interior Minister: Call To Resign “Unbelievably Inappropriate”

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Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir has dismissed a Left-Green proposal that she resign as “unbelievably inappropriate”. Her criticisms that the proposal contains falsehoods, however, appear to contradict the facts. Last weekend, the Left-Green Party held a party convention wherein a number of proposals were bundled into a general platform. Amongst these proposals is that Hanna Birna resign, in part because “the Minister did not speak truthfully to parliament and the Minister directly intervened in the investigation [of her ministry].” Speaking on radio station Bylgjan, Hanna Birna was dismissive of the proposal, telling listeners: “I find [the proposal] unbelievable

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A representative of management who contended that Icelanders do not need to work fewer hours has been corrected by the director of the Association for Sustainability and Democracy (ALDA). As reported, Þorsteinn Víglundsson, the director of Business Iceland (SA), recently dismissed a bill that was recently submitted to parliament on the subject of the definition of “full time work”. The bill proposes that the definition be changed from 40 hours per week to 35. Þorsteinn, in an interview with Stöð 2, told reporters that the concerns raised in the bill were unrealistic, saying that Icelanders work on average about 37

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“Idiot” And Other Words Removed From Icelandic Penal Code

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The Icelandic Penal Code was recently revamped to remove some of its more out-dated word choices, and replace them with more modern equivalents. RÚV reports that amongst these proposed changes is to remove the word “idiot” and replace it with the phrase “individual with a developmental disorder”. The out-dated “idiot” is currently used in Article 222 of the Icelandic Penal Code, which states, “Anyone who, intentionally or unwittingly, gives dangerous objects or substances to a child younger than 15 years old, a mentally ill person, an idiot or an intoxicated person will be fined or jailed”. Other changes in word

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ISNIC Cites Business Reasons For Closing Islamic State’s Domain

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RÚV reports that Isnic closed the domain of militant group ISIS/Islamic State for business reasons, according to Jens Pétur Jensen, ISNIC’s manager. The decision was made following a staff meeting. Jens Pétur says that around half of ISNIC’s ten staff members were opposed to the decision, and would either have preferred the company wait for a legitimate order from State authorities or not close the site down at all. This was heard at a meeting of Alþingi’s Enviroment and Transportation Committee. Jens Pétur told members of Alþingi that the business reasons behind the decision were concerns about the reputation of

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STEF Demands All ISPs Block Torrent Sites

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This morning, the collective rights management society STEF, demanded responses from ISPs Síminn, Tal and 365, as to whether the companies will block their users’ access to the sharing sites Piratebay and its now non-existing local counterpart, deildu.net. This was reported by RÚV. STEF has demanded a response before Wednesday, threatening legal action. As reported, earlier this month, the Reykjavík District court ruled in favor of STEF’s demands in the case of two other ISPs, which were ordered to block their customers’ access to the torrent sites. Within a day after the ruling, which specifies the URLs to be blocked,

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Board Rules Police Must Disclose Protest Report

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Police must disclose a report on its organization during political demonstrations from 2008 to 2011, according to a ruling by the Information access complaint board. The report’s title is, aptly: “Summary of police organization at protests from 2008 to 2011″. Activist and author Eva Hauksdóttir has sought access to the report since 2012. She first applied to the Chief of Police, who refused the request. She then filed a complaint to the Information access complaint board, established through the 2012 Information act. The board ordered the Chief of Police to reconsider the request. He did and declined the request again,

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