From Iceland — Political Congress Mega Weekend!

Political Congress Mega Weekend!

Published February 25, 2013

It was a busy weekend for both the Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement, as members of the groups convened (separately) over the weekend for their national congress’.
At the independence Party camp, Bjarni Benediktsson was re-elected Chairman of the party, after winning 78.9% of votes, while former Mayor of Reykjavík Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir received 95% of votes to be named Vice Chairman.
On the policy front, the Independence Party voted on Saturday that all legislation would be based on Christian values, reports. The resolution that was approved by popular vote states that Christian values are important for Iceland “now more than ever” and that an Independence Party run state would foster the state church and religious life. This resolution wasn’t popular among the youth arm of the party, however, and it was reversed on Sunday.
A resolution that proved universally popular, and most definitely in keeping with the Christian values the party seeks to uphold, was lowering the legal age to purchase alcohol. The Independence Party approved a resolution to allow 18-year-olds to buy alcohol (the legal age is currently 20) and they will move to allow the sale of beer and wine in stores other than the state-run liquor shops, reports.
Rounding out the highlights, the party also voted to put a stop to talks with the EU, and to re-evaluate indexation of loans.
Over at the Left-Green Movement congress, current Minister of Education, Science and Culture Katrín Jakobsdóttir was elected the party Chairman, taking the reigns from Stringrimur J. Sigfusson, who had announced recently that he would not be seeking re-election. Katrín won an impressive 98% of the vote.
Attendees of the congress agreed to continue discussions with the EU, but with only slightly more people being in favour of this decision than against – 53% voted to continue discussions, RÚV reports.
The Left-Greens will seek to abolish indexation of loans, but seek to do this over a period of time that will not result in a negative blow to the still-fragile economy. The party will focus on a strong fiscal policy, with the goal of stabilising the economy.
The congress also voted to adopt a resolution to oppose surrogacy, Vísir reports. As The Grapevine reported last week, the party believes that surrogacy sends the message that it is okay to use the body of another for achieving ones own goals.

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