The majority of respondents to a phone poll conducted by Fréttablaðið and Stöð 2 believe that Minister of Agriculture and Fishing Jón Bjarnason should resign.
Jón has found himself in a negative light in the media lately, due to conflicts he has had with government ministers from the Social Democrats, although he has apparently frustrated members of his own party as well. Staunchly anti-EU but working in a government that has a pro-EU platform, his opinions have often run at odds with the prime minister herself.
Things most recently came to a head over a work group he formed to go over the fishing system. Not only did this group contain members of the opposition without consulting members of his own party on the matter; it also contained goals and outlines that ran counter to the government’s fishing platform. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir called this “work practices that are impossible to tolerate”.
While this conflict appears to be simmering down, Vísir reports that most Icelanders want him to step down.
In total, 64.3% believe he should resign, while 35.7% believe he should remain on as minister. This average total is almost exactly the same as the proportions among Leftist-Greens voters, 37.1% of whom want him to stay on while 62.9% want him to quit. Among Social Democrats, these figures are vastly different and hardly surprising: only 8.3% believe he should remain a minister, while 91.7% want him gone. Among members of the opposition – or least, the Progressives and the Independence Party – he has the support of 46.2% and 34.5% of their voters, respectively.
Although these levels of unpopularity are widely known, the prime minister has stated that the government is not going to change form any time soon.