New Government Formed - The Reykjavik Grapevine

New Government Formed

Published February 1, 2009

Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir announced today the formation of
the new Icelandic government. It is comprised of ten ministers, evenly
split between the Social Democratic Party (S) and the Left-Green Party (V), and
evenly split between genders. The new ministers are as follows:
Prime Minister: Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (S)
Foreign Minister and Minister of Industry: Össur Skarpheðinsson (S)
Minister of Social Affairs: Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir (S)
Minister of Transportation: Kristján Möller (S)
Minister of Finance, Agriculture and Fishing: Steingrímur J. Sigfússon (V)
Minister of Health: Ögmundur Jónasson (V)
Minister of Education: Katrín Jakóbsdóttir (V)
Minister for the Environment: Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir (V)
Minister of Business: Gylfi Magnússon
Minister of Justice: Ragna Árnadóttir
The last two ministers are not bound by party and were appointed.
“This government will first and foremost focus on a responsible economic leadership”, Sigurðardóttir is quoted as saying in Morgunblaðið. “It will focus first and foremost on the important matters with regards to employment and the household in this country.”
“Today the government abandons the economic libertarian platform,” said Sigfússon. “And we take on a difficult task before us.”
Among the changes expected from the new government is a “clean sweep” of the Central Bank, a complete review of the Ministries of Finance and Business, and a reform of banking laws. It was also announced that national elections will be held on 25 April.
While the two parties differ with regards to the EU – the Social Democrats favor applying for entry, while most Left-Greens (as well as most Icelanders) oppose it – the two parties do agree that the matter must be put to a national referendum.
This also marks the first time in Icelandic history that there has been an equal portion of men and women as ministers, as well as a female Prime Minister.
The mission statement of the new government can be read in its entirety here (in Icelandic).


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