From Iceland — Budget Hangs In The Balance

Budget Hangs In The Balance

Published August 10, 2011

The government budget proposal for the next fiscal year hangs by the proverbial thread, hinged on a film school and a single MP.
Parliament will soon vote on the government’s proposed budget for the next year. Normally, budget votes are a cakewalk for the ruling coalition, as parties in the coalition vote unanimously for it, rolling right over the opposition.
This year, however, is different. Last spring, one Leftist-Green MP left the party to join the Progressives, and two others left the parliamentary party. This means that technically, the ruling coalition only has a majority of one seat.
Yesterday, students from the Film School of Iceland handed Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir a petition calling for guaranteed government support of the school. Some 3,300 people had signed the petition in 72 hours. The prime minister said she had discussed the matter with the Minister of Education, and was optimistic of a positive outcome.
For the government’s sake, they had better hope for that to happen, as MP Þráinn Bertelsson has said that he will not vote in favour of the budget without government support for the film school.
Should that fall through, or should even one dissenting vote arise from within the ruling coalition, the budget will be effectively killed, and it will be back to the drawing board for the government. For now, the budget skates on thin ice. A vote is pending today or through the rest of the week.

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