From Iceland — Despite Resignations, Government Will Hold

Despite Resignations, Government Will Hold

Published March 21, 2011

An official statement from the Leftist-Green Party on the departure of two of their MPs expresses disappointment, but reiterates that the ruling coalition will stand – a point made by others within the majority, but doubted by the opposition.
As reported, parliamentarians Atli Gíslason and Lilja Mósesdóttir announced today that they were leaving the Leftist-Green Party. In a statement they made at a press conference, they said in part that they “do not intend to work in an environment that questions our work and hinders our freedom of expression.” They also detailed the issues with which they disagree with the Leftist-Greens, among them the EU question, the IMF, cuts made to social programmes and of course Icesave.
An official statement from the party responds that they are “disappointed” with their departure, but that they “thank them for their cooperation, and wish them well.” They add “it is the hope of the MPs of the Leftist-Greens that despite the decision of Atli Gíslason and Lilja Mósesdóttir to leave the party, that they will continue to support the government and the reconstruction of the country from the ruins of neolibertarianism and privatisation.”
There had been rumours that the coalition, which now only has a majority by 1.5 seats (33 seats of 63), will soon dissolve, to be replaced by the previous government of the Independence Party and the Social Democrats. This notion has been rejected by both the Leftist-Greens and the Social Democrats.
“The party will resolutely continue to work and take part in the government,” the Leftist-Green statement reads in part. This was underlined by Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson, who told Vísir, “The government has a majority, and I am doubtful [that the resignations] will change much in that regard, seeing how [Lilja and Atli] have voted on various matters recently.”
Despite this, Bjarni Benediktsson, chairman of the Independence Party, told Vísir, “This is even more confirmation of the disagreements that have pervaded that coalition. There has appeared a deep chasm in the foundational principles.”
Members of both parties in the ruling coalition will be meeting soon to re-assess their position, and to assign replacements for the committees Atli and Lilja sat for. The results of this meeting will be released soon.

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