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Iceland’s Next Prime Minister Still Undecided

Alda Kravec
Words by

Published April 29, 2013

The final decision of who will be the next prime minister of Iceland rests with President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who will meet individually with the leaders of all elected parties this afternoon, Vísir reports.
Both Bjarni Benediktsson, the leader of the Independence Party, and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, leader of the Progressive Party are candidates for the title as each party won 19 seats in Saturday’s parliamentary elections.
While the Independence Party won the largest share of the popular vote by 2% over the Progressive Party, the big victory is considered to lie with the Progressives, who have more than doubled their representation in Parliament since the 2009 elections, when they won nine seats, which was an increase from the seven seats they won in the 2007 elections. Meanwhile, the Independence Party has only gained three seats since the 2009 election and despite the increase, this still remains the second worse results in the party’s history.
Although it is likely the two parties will form a majority coalition government, Sigmundur Davíð has stated that he will only work with a party that will help him deliver on his promise to lower mortgage rates by 20%.
The promised mortgage reduction was the main carrot dangled by the Progressives in the election race as a proposed universal flat tax rebate. However, economist Jón Steinsson from Columbia University has shown that it is likely to benefit high-income earners and wealthy property owners at the expense of those living outside the Reykjavík area, who were not as affected by the real estate bubble. Jón told Vísir that “75% of the flat tax rebate would run into the pockets of those who are not in any financial trouble.”



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Icelandic Police Receive Machine Guns, Glocks

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The Icelandic police force will soon be adding MP5 machine guns and Glock 17 semiautomatics to their arsenals. DV first reported on the matter early this morning. MBL reports that a “substantial number” of MP5 machine guns are in the hands of the police force, apart from the Glock handguns. While it was initially reported that these guns were bought from Norway, and that squad cars are now equipped with them, neither of these contentions are true. The guns are, however, in possession of the police force. The Ministry of the Interior – which oversees the police – posted an

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Bomb Squad’s 2003 Find Possibly Western Chemical Weapons

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A team of Icelandic bomb squad technicians may have found US-produced mustard gas in Iraq, during the 2003-invasion. This was reported by RÚV’s Kastljós, following last week’s coverage in the New York Times, of chemical weapons actually found during the invasion, but treated as classified due to their origins on the one hand, and relative harmlessness, compared with the hypothetical weapons declared to be in the hands of dictator Saddam Hussein in the advent of the invasion. “Old chemical munitions” In 2003, the Icelandic bomb squad’s discovery of potential chemical weapon warheads was covered on the front page of newspaper

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