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Iceland’s Next Prime Minister Still Undecided

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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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Police Guns Detained By Toll Authorities Until Proven Gifts

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The 250 machine guns, recently acquired from the Norwegian army, have been sealed off by toll authorities, who will not deliver them to the Coast Guard until the latter can prove that the weapons were a gift, as its representatives have publicly claimed. According to RÚV, toll authorities locked up and sealed the warehouse in which the weapons are kept, until the Coast Guard can provide such evidence. Whereas the Coast Guard has not provided any proof, toll authorities have a copy of the Norwegian Army’s invoice for the guns, supporting Norway’s claim that the Coast Guard purchased them. If

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Adam Ibrahim Pasha Ends Hunger Strike

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Last night, as reported, director Benedikt Erlingsson and producer Friðrik Þór Friðriksson received the Nordic Council Film Prize for the 2013 comedy “Of Horses and Men”. In his acceptance speech, Benedikt criticized the government for cutting the budget of the Icelandic Film Fund by, he said, 42 percent, this year. Describing the situation as a “catastrophe”, Benedikt announced the presence of Icelandic politicians at the ceremony, and encouraged other members of the audience to pick up the topic in conversations, during the succeeding party. “Talk to them about the Icelandic sagas,” Benedikt said, and continued: “Tell them that we who

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Most Consider Themselves Unsafe Downtown

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