The Progressive Party - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Progressive Party

The Progressive Party

Published April 3, 2009

The Progressive Party – In Their Own Words.
The Progressive Party is a liberal socialist party constantly working
for societal reforms and finding solutions to its many shared problems,
based on co-operation and equality. The Progressive policy puts people
and their welfare upfront.

We wish to continue to build a society based on the core values of
democracy, personal freedom, equality and social responsibility.

We fight for human rights, respect for individuals and the family. We
reject favoritism and discrimination based, for example, on ethnicity,
gender, sexual preference, religion, language, nationality or political
views. We will always defend freedom of opinion, expression, religion
and the sanctity of private life.

We value humans over wealth and think that all human beings should
share the same basic rights to an education, personal growth and basic
standard of living, regardless of their origin, health and economic
stature.

We wish to reinforce human capital by providing every individual with
stimulation and a chance to mature and grow in both work and leisure.
We aim for a society of tolerance and open-mindedness, so that every
aspect of our community and the individuals therein may blossom.

We want the nation to have the highest determining power over its own
issues, and for those in government to rule only within their
commission. We work diligently for a fair society, open governance and
the distribution of power.

We wish to build the nation’s economy on a free-market basis of private
enterprise and co-operative enterprise, so that the enterprise of
individuals and collectives may fully prosper.

We have a great responsibility towards collaborating with other nations
on mutual tasks. We want our international interactions to be based on
the acknowledgement of each nation’s right to independence and
self-governance.

We aim for a reasonable and sustainable exploitation of the earth’s
resources that does not interfere with the interests of future
generations. We believe that all local resources should be subject to
the unconditional governance of Icelanders.

We believe it is every person’s basic right to choose his or her own
place of residence. Good transportation, telecommunication, varied
employment opportunities and a diverse selection of education, culture
and healthcare are all key factors in equalizing circumstances. We
build upon a liberal ideology and thus believe the best way of reaching
our goals is by the co-operation of different forces and interests that
are based on moderation and honesty.

The Grapevine’s Political Q&A – The Progressive Party’s Answers:

Briefly describe the party’s general agenda using one sentence.
The Progressive Party is a liberal socialist party constantly
working for societal reforms and finding solutions to its many shared
problems, based on co-operation and equality. The Progressive policy
puts people and their welfare upfront.

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 Progressive party has undergone a great renewal. We elected a new
leadership at our national convention in January; a party chairman, VP
and secretary. At that same time, we greatly changed the party’s agenda
and put a great emphasis on entering conditional negotiations with the
EU and holding a constitutional parliament. There has also been a great
renewal in our party ranks in all constituencies, both in the top and
bottom rungs of our list. Probably no party that currently sits in
Alþingi can boast of as much renewal as the Progressive Party.

What is your party’s financial agenda? What are you going to do about the króna?
We wish to permanently solve the nation’s currency issues and abolish
currency restraints as soon as possible, for instance by negotiating
with foreign holders of ISK-bonds and Icelandic pension funds, and by
hosting a special auction market on ISK. If we eventually join the EU,
we will make a special stability pact until we can instate the Euro.

How does the party plan to help Icelandic homes?
We will lower the households’ debt capital by 20%, so that part of
foreign creditors’ write-offs will go straight to Icelandic debtors and
the index number will thereby be corrected to what it was before the
collapse. This is a preventive measure that will avert ongoing
unemployment, mass bankruptcy and a further slump in property values.
We need to resolve to special measures, like payment adjustment for
those debtors that still face trouble after this move.

How does the party plan to help Icelandic companies?
Lower the companies’ debt capital by 20%, as with households.

How can Iceland regain trustworthiness in the eyes of foreign
investors and creditors? How can Iceland prevent becoming isolated in
the global village?

By abolishing currency restraints and resolving the ISK-bond issue, by
prompting the normal operation of banks and by following the
International Monetary Fund’s plan. The Progressive Party also wishes
to start negotiating with the EU about joining, on the basis of a
permit from Parliament that will ensure Icelanders’ interest and the
local economy, especially the fishing industry and agriculture. The
negotiation process should be open and democratic, and, should the
negotiations lead to an agreement, the Icelandic nation shall
immediately take a stand through national elections preceded by
enlightened discourse.

What is your party’s stance on the European Union?
The Progressive Party wishes to apply for EU membership and has made a
resolution about the conditions that should be the grounding for any
talks of joining. If we reach an agreement, we need to put this up to
the nation’s judgment, for approval or rejection.

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 collapse is widespread and can in
part be traced to the international recession that most states now
struggle with. The Progressive Party participated in privatising the
banks and the party’s chairman has stated that not ensuring proper
distribution of the ownership was a mistake, and apologised for it.
However, the Progressive Party left the government in 2007 and was in
no position to react after alarm bells started chiming, but repeatedly
pointed out that firm action was needed if we were to avoid collapse.
At that time, the Independence Party and the Alliance Party were in
government.
 
What is your party’s stance on constitutional change? Should we assemble a constitutional parliament, or are there other ways?
It is the Progressive Party’s opinion that we need to hold elections
for a constitutional parliament, which will draft a new constitution
for Iceland. That constitution will then be subject to national vote. 

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?

We need to exercise restraint in every field, but we wish to take care
that equal accessibility to healthcare and the education system will be
upheld, and that our welfare system ensures everyone a minimal standard
of living. We can, however, optimize in these fields, for instance a
reference system in the healthcare industry has been pointed out, as
has home nursing. We have also mentioned that we need to ensure full
cooperation between the unemployment insurance agency and the economy,
so we can use the strength of those that are able and willing. If we
start the economy again by using the resources we have pointed out,
there won’t be as much need for cutbacks in various fields.

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