From Iceland — Are The Progressives Splitting Apart?

Are The Progressives Splitting Apart?

Published August 22, 2011

An MP for the Progressive Party will announce his departure from the party tomorrow, and sources say he may form his own political party. Other prominent Progressives have been leaving as well.
Guðmundur Steingrímsson, an MP for the Progressive Party, confirmed for Vísir that he intends to officially resign from the party tomorrow. Other sources have said that he intends to start his own party, but Guðmundur himself would neither confirm nor deny this.
The main issue of contention seems to be regarding the European Union. Guðmundur supports Iceland joining the EU, while the party leadership does not. Smugan also reports that concerns regarding a growing nationalist streak within the party have been cause for concern among party members.
Guðmundur originally ran for and was an alternate MP for the Social Democrats, but then joined up with the Progressives in 2009. His father, Steingrímur Hermannsson, was chairman of the Progressives for a while, as was his father before him, Hermann Jónasson.
Other prominent Progressives, among them G. Valdimar Valdemarsson and Andrés Pétursson of the Kópavogur Progressives, have resigned from the party the day after party chairman Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson announced the official position of the party would be to have Iceland cease accession talks with the EU.
If the rumours hold true, and Guðmundur does start a new party that basically amounts to pro-EU Progressives, this could mark an exodus from one of Iceland’s oldest political parties.

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