From Iceland — Geir Resigns, New Government To Form

Geir Resigns, New Government To Form

Published January 26, 2009

Geir H. Haarde formally resigned as Prime Minister in parliament today.
Following this, MPs from the other four parties discussed what form the
new Icelandic government could take.
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir emphasised that the Social Democrats want “a strong government that can lead the nation to election in the spring”. She added that this would take an experienced individual, that this is what the Social Democrats offered and the Conservatives rejected, referring to Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Therefore, she argued, there was no choice but to turn to the president of Iceland to form a new government.
Leftist-Green chairman Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said that his party was ready to work within a “þjóðstjórn”, literally “popular government”, which would mean all five parties would hold ministries, and not just those in a ruling coalition. He added that this step should have been taken in the fall, when it was requested by his party. According to the last opinion poll on the matter, popular government is the option with the strongest support among Icelanders. He emphasised however that a popular government needed to be an effective one that could lead the nation through the difficult times ahead.
Höskuldur Þórhallsson, an MP for the Progressive Party, said that the end of the ruling coalition was a long time coming, pointing out that the continuous protests across the country have underlined how unfit the coalition was, and added that now the government needs to focus on inflation and unemployment.
Guðjón Arnar Kristjánsson, chairman of the Liberal Party, said that the coalition met a sad end, with MPs taking verbal snipes at one another, and that now was the time for all parties to work together, his own party being ready for “whatever work needs to be done”.
Ultimately, the form the new government will take is up to the president of Iceland. A decision on this is expected to be made soon.
Read the Grapevine’s previous coverage of the series of protests and resulting governmental crisis here:

Protests At Parliament Continue Through The Night
Injuries Reported During Protests
Protest Action Mounts In Reykjavík
They Keep A-Bangin’
Seven Seconds
Most Icelanders Support The Protestors
 Elections In The Spring Become More Likely
Protests Continue – Elections This Spring – Haarde Resigns, Sort Of

Icelandic Ruling Coalition Ends
Also check out this excellent photo essay of the Tuesday night protests by photographer SvarTTrast here: Things Falling Apart- Tuesday’s Protests In Photos

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