From Iceland — Government To Change After New Year

Government To Change After New Year

Published December 30, 2011

Today it was announced that the government will be combining ministries again, and that two ministers will be leaving their posts.
As reported earlier today, both the Social Democrats and the Leftist-Greens met separately, and then together, to discuss possible changes to the form of the government.
Today, those changes were formally announced, Vísir reports.
The ministries of fishing, agriculture, business and the economy – as well as parts of the Ministry of Industry – will be combined into a new ministry, the Ministry of Employment, of which Leftist-Green chairman Steingrímur J. Sigfússon will be minister. Minister of Welfare Guðbjartur Hannesson will take over as Minister of Finance, and Oddný Harðardóttir will possibly replace him. The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Industry will also be combined to form the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources.
However, this will mean that Minister of Economics and Business Árni Páll Árnason and Minister of Fishing and Agriculture Jón Bjarnason will be leaving their posts, and will no longer be government ministers.
Not everyone is happy with the decision, least of all Leftist-Greens in northwest Iceland, Vísir reports. Party members from Húnavatn and Skagafjörður have accused Steingrímur of abusing power.
In addition to other factors – such as wanting to reduce the size of the government to ease the budget – Jón Bjarnason has recently clashed with other ministers for his staunchly anti-EU position, and for the way he ran a workgroup on fishing law in Iceland.

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