As more Progressives leave the party, tensions continue to rise.
Last week, former Reykjavík city council candidate Hreiðar Eiríksson announced he was leaving the Progressive Party over remarks Progressive city council candidate Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir made during campaign season, as well as the party leadership’s silence on the matter. Sveinbjörg said she would revoke the granting of a plot of land for Iceland’s Muslims to build a mosque. Other remarks were made by her, and other Progressives, which also used Islam as a campaign point.
This is the same reason former Progressive alternate MP Þorsteinn Magnússon gave the Grapevine for his departure as well.
In the wake of this, Progressive Party parliamentary chairperson Sigrún Magnúsdóttir told RÚV that she found their reasons for leaving strange, as both men were allegedly on the election committee that oversaw the approval or rejection of candidates. She added that neither of them objected to the party’s candidates or their public statements.
DV reports that this is incorrect. Hreiðar was not on the election committee, and he contends both he and Þorsteinn raised objections over the handling of the mosque issue.
“I think the candidates handled the mosque issue badly,” Þorsteinn told Grapevine last week. “It was offensive to Muslims, and I was disappointed with the way they made it seem as though a mosque would be bad for Icelandic society. Their statements weren’t corrected, by themselves or the party leadership, when I think they should have stepped in.”