The Alliance Party is Iceland’s social-democratic party, a representative of the political ideology that has built the powerful welfare states of Northern-Europe while ideologies to the left and right have collapsed in recent years. In place of the old fashioned crony-privatisation and the intertwined power structures of other political parties’ business relationships and administrations that drove Iceland into the ground, social democrats wish to ensure fair regulations and freedoms to act in pursuit of healthy competition, social responsibilities, environmentalism, a social safety net and opportunities for all, especially in the field of education. International collaboration and an open society form the basis for a healthy standard of living.
Grapevine vs. The Alliance Party. Q&A:
Briefly describe the party’s general agenda using one sentence.
Freedom, equality and brother/sisterhood
There have been loud calls for renewal in the ranks of Icelandic MPs and politicians lately? How has your party responded to these requests?
The Alliance Party has elected a new chairman, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, a new VP, Dagur B. Eggertsson, and half of those running for Parliament now are newcomers.
What is your party’s financial agenda? What are you going to do about the króna?
We believe that using such a miniscule currency as the króna will be too expensive and cause too much uncertainty for the country’s households to be a feasible choice for the future. This is why we aim to negotiate with the EU for membership in the union and adopting the Euro.
How does the party plan to help Icelandic companies?
We plan to quickly re-establish our financial system and faith in the Icelandic economy, so that companies can receive normal services and grounds can be laid for a fast drop in interests. Responsibility, restraint and good operating conditions matter much more to the economy than any “magic solution” that will eventually cause more debt and taxation.
How does the party plan to help Icelandic homes?
We plan on bridging the gap in these times of trouble with integral actions that meet the needs of different groups and ensure that each and every króna goes where it is needed. The welfare-bridge spans everything, from the increased payback of interests to payment-adaptations for individuals so their debt load is in tune with their fiscal abilities.
How can Iceland regain trustworthiness in the eyes of foreign investors and creditors? How can Iceland prevent becoming isolated in the global village?
By applying to negotiate EU membership and requesting to both adopt the Euro and join the ERM currency collaboration to support the Króna as soon as possible; as well as following through the plan that was agreed with the International Monetary Fund – and showing responsibility.
What is your party’s stance on the European Union?
It is necessary to initiate negotiations for Iceland to fully join the EU, so we can become a nation among nations and allow our people to vote on the outcome of such negotiations. The EU and the Euro will not automatically solve our problems with economic administration in and of themselves, but a statement of our interest in joining will make our policy clear to the outside world and help us regain some much needed trust.
Who is responsible for the Icelandic economic collapse and the problems Iceland now faces? Does your party share any of the responsibility?
The responsibility lies with those who led the party over the last decade: led the crony-privatisation of the banks to selected groups connected with those in power – and then gave them the freedom to grow at will without the Central Bank being used to restrain them and promote economic stability. Furthermore, they promoted inflation and debt accumulation and called the results “good year.” The Alliance Party is responsible, like other political parties; mainly by greatly overestimating the time we had to set things right and reach a soft landing. The sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US that spread around the world deprived us of that extra time.
What is your party’s stance on constitutional change? Should we assemble a constitutional parliament, or are there other ways?
The Alliance Party wants the nation itself to be involved with any constitutional aspects and thus submitted a bill proposing a constitutional parliament. Furthermore, we have proposed that the constitution entail a charter on Iceland’s resources being national property, a charter on how to amend the constitution between parliaments and how we can demand national vote on certain issues.
It is given that the Icelandic state needs to initiate many cutbacks in the near future. Where should those be imposed, in your opinion, and are there any fields that should be “exempt” from such cutbacks?
Social democrats emphasise the defence of those who are the worst off and of those things that will build our future, such as education and opportunities for young people. We will steer expenses by joining ministries and institutions. Instead of looking at the expenses of years past and asking where to cut, we need to look at the services and tasks at hand and ask what we need in order to address them as best we can.