Parliament Responds to Protests

Published October 5, 2010

Members of both the ruling coalition and the opposition have had different responses to last night’s protests in front of parliament, but they do seem to agree on one thing – relieving household debt should be the first priority.
Some 8,000 people by some counts gathered in front of parliament last night in a largely peaceful demonstration, mostly protesting the government’s handling of Iceland’s domestic economic situation, as many households face mounting debts and foreclosures.
Adding to her previous statement to extend the “hand of agreement” to protesters, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir added at a press conference today that she is certain that the ruling coalition can reach an agreement with members of the opposition as to how to best deal with the debts Icelandic households are now facing. She also reiterated that that nation’s banks – which are now mostly completely privatized – need to do more to assist families struggling with loan payments.
Social Democrat MP Ólína Þorvarðardóttir, writing on her blog, has called upon people to recognize that there is no “magic solution” to the problems in this country, and that no matter how many revolutions there may be, or what party is in power, the task at hand will remain the same.
Many conservatives have been calling for new elections, with Independence Party MP Jón Gunnarsson going as far as to say there should be new elections this spring. The conservatives are currently polling at about 35%, making them the largest party in the country at the moment.
Other members of the opposition, such as Movement MP Þór Saari, have suggested instead a “national government”, i.e., a government comprised of all political parties – only he would like to see such a coalition exclude the conservatives. The Independence Party was driven from power in the wake of popular protests in 2009, and The Movement arose from the activist base of those protests.
The prime minister has ruled out a national government and new elections. However, both she and Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon have said that they intend to put the matter of relieving household debt at the top of the list of priorities for the fall session of parliament.
In related news, blogger and former editor of DV Jónas Kristjánsson wrote an article saying that people would be better off attacking the banks rather than parliament, his argument being that the popular protests of 2009 succeeded because they focused on the right individuals responsible for the situation. Today, it is, for the most part, the policy of largely private banks that is making things difficult for Icelandic families.



News
Volcano Has Maybe Stopped Erupting, Not 100% Sure

Volcano Has Maybe Stopped Erupting, Not 100% Sure

by

Víðir Reynisson, Department Head at Iceland’s Civil Protection has told RÚV that although it looks as if Holuhraun has stopped

News
Netflix Coming To Iceland

Netflix Coming To Iceland

by

Sam Film have closed a deal with streaming giant Netflix to bring the service to Iceland, reports RÚV. It is

News
Banks Made Over 80 Billion ISK Last Year

Banks Made Over 80 Billion ISK Last Year

by

Iceland’s three banks made a combined total of 81.2 billion ISK last year alone, showing an increase of over 25%

News
Tourist Business Unhappy With Civic Protection

Tourist Business Unhappy With Civic Protection

by

While Civic Protection in Iceland has been diligent about protecting Icelanders and tourists alike from the dangers of the Holuhraun

News
Pirate Party Reacts To Proactive Police Investigations

Pirate Party Reacts To Proactive Police Investigations

by

Pirate Party MP, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, has expressed concern over the police’s request for proactive investigative powers, reports Vísir. Independence Party

News
Police Want Authority To Spy On Citizens

Police Want Authority To Spy On Citizens

by

The Icelandic police want the authority to “gather information” on individuals they deem a threat to public safety; the qualifications

Show Me More!