From Iceland — L For Icelandic Autonomy

L For Icelandic Autonomy

Published April 3, 2009

L For Icelandic Autonomy
(NOTE: As of 4 April, L-listinn has withdrawn their candidacy
from this year’s elections. Part of the reason was that they did not
garner the support they were hoping to achieve, but also that they feel
they managed to have enough of an effect on preventing Iceland from
joining the EU. – Paul)

L for Icelandic Autonomy – In Their Own Words:

Democracy, sovereignty and ethics
We wish to reconstruct and empower democracy by running a group of free men and women for parliament, people that will let their work do the talking and move the decision making process out of the parties’ headquarters and into the parliament itself. The L-list wishes to safeguard the sovereignty, independence and national freedom of Iceland. We wish to promote increased free trade and we believe it is important that Icelanders themselves govern their right to negotiate with other nations. We outright reject joining the European Union.
We wish to reconsider Iceland’s governmental structure with a new constitution that will empower voters and better ensure the separation of legislative and executive powers. We want Alþingi to maintain the unconditional legislative powers within the land and jurisdiction of Iceland. We wish to ensure that Iceland’s resources remain the nation’s property. 
The L-list feels it is urgent to reinforce our executive system with new laws and regulations, where national interest, professionalism and transparency will be key. In these matters we feel it is urgent to build up a new Icelandic legal frame around financial activities.
We wish to reconstruct the nation’s interests, maintaining disciplined and ethical governance and using the best local and international experts to that aim.
Regarding the finances of households and companies, we feel it is urgent to permanently ensure normal interest rates, to circulate capital anew and revise price indexation. We feel we need to establish a fund that, like the “kreppa” fund of the mid- 20th century, temporarily overtakes the assets of debt-laden households.
The L-list feels it is unrealistic to expect Icelandic taxpayers to carry the debts of individuals and companies.
The L-list is a spokesperson for thriftiness and economy in state finances, and feels it is important to meet hardships in running the state by revising spending policies in certain fields. We also believe that if we are to raise taxes, we should make sure that they do not affect low-income groups and that we should explore a layered system of taxation. We wish to abolish VAT on foodstuffs.
We wish to reconstruct the economy through lucrative projects, exploitation of resources, innovation and the promotion of freedom of employment. We want to safeguard the interests of Icelandic industry, its evolution and reinforcement. We feel it is urgent to ensure that local production industries can acquire Icelandic power at efficient prices.
We want to emphasize the marketing of Icelandic production and design in an international context by ensuring companies in the field better access to capital at affordable rates, and barter arrangements.
Furthermore, we believe that state ownership of corporations is in many cases justifiable, but should emphasise equality, transparency and distributed ownership where privatisation is employed.
The L-list bases its platform on modest bourgeoisie values, i.e. hard work, equality and tolerance. We reject neo-libertarianism, greed and extremism, but fight for a cultured society and diverse education. We emphasise equal rights of every social group. We emphasise that the living conditions of the Icelandic nation be upheld and ensured. We wish to secure the welfare and well-being of families and students, at home and abroad.

Grapevine vs. The L-List. Q&A:
Briefly describe the party’s general agenda using one sentence.
L-listinn is a multi-partisan organization that opposes party politics and takes a strong position against all attempts to get Iceland into the European Union.
There have been loud calls for renewal in the ranks of Icelandic MPs and politicians lately? How has your party responded to these requests? 
L-listinn is not a party, but an independent organization of candidates who have come together on a common set of issues. Only one of our candidates has previous taken a seat in parliament (Bjarni Harðarson, previously of the Progressive Party).
What is your party’s financial agenda? What are you going to do about the króna?
We place emphasis on the belief that an independent currency is the foundation for getting us out of our economic crisis. We want to see the Icelandic crown on the international markets again, but we believe that the total freedom that our banks enjoyed, leading to their collapse, does not suit our small economy. In the long term we don’t rule out taking up another currency, but that is a job for the next election cycle.
How does the party plan to help Icelandic companies?
We believe the most important support we can give to business owners in this country is, first of all, lower interest rates and, secondly, that legislation be enacted regarding business ownership so that well-run companies don’t have to compete with companies that are actually bankrupt and enjoying the support of the state. We want the state to create an investment bank and to re-examine the legal framework for the management of business in this country, so that well-run companies don’t become the toys of unscrupulous prospectors. We also want to re-examine the European Economic Area agreement, which today places great restrictions on employment in our country.
How does the party plan to help Icelandic homes?
We emphasize that the government helps those who need help the most but reject the idea of the state paying for all debts across the board. We want to establish an Economic Crisis Loan Fund that could, in some cases, take over heavily indebted properties and rent them out for their owners. We also consider it important to confront the difficulties that poor people in this country face, with free medical service and medication, among other things.
How can Iceland regain trustworthiness in the eyes of foreign investors and creditors? How can Iceland prevent becoming isolated in the global village?
With an independent platform free of the subservient nature of the previous government. The first step in this direction is to completely reject the demand that the Icelandic people pay back the debt of Icesave, which the people did not run nor bear any responsibility for.
What is your party’s stance on the European Union?
L-listinn is the only party taking a complete and total stance against any and all attempts to bring Iceland into the European Union. We believe that before the question is even addressed we need to see a vote of 2/3 of the Icelandic people in favor of a constitutional change, which assumes a democratic collapse. L-listinn will fight against such a change to the constitution.
Who is responsible for the Icelandic economic collapse and the problems Iceland now faces? Does your party share any of the responsibility? 
The responsibility for the economic crisis is broad, but two things matter most. On one hand, the poorly thought-out platform of the Central Bank that held too high an interest rate, creating an unbelievably flammable situation in our economic life. On the other hand is the EEA agreement, which is one of the unhealthiest steps the government of this country has ever taken. 
What is your party’s stance on constitutional change? Should we assemble a constitutional parliament, or are there other ways?
L-listinn believes constitutional changes are needed in, among other areas, giving parliament more independence whereby non-affiliated candidates have greater chances. We are not opposed to a popular parliament but, at the same time, we warn that such a legislature could be very costly.
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?
With a general saving sense and wisdom, L-listinn places emphasis on cutting down our bloated bureaucracy in the public sector and many types of regulatory organizations, which have grown in the past years. We also emphasize that, despite the national debt, we need to ensure health services for those who need it the most.

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