County-Party to be Founded - The Reykjavik Grapevine

County-Party to be Founded

Published August 11, 2014

Gunnar Smári Egilsson Campaigns for Iceland to Unify with Norway

Haukur Már Helgason
Photos by
WM Commons

Gunnar Smári Egilsson Campaigns for Iceland to Unify with Norway

Once over one percent of the Icelandic population had joined the County-party’s Facebook page, it opened its own website, at fylkisflokkurinn.is, where people are invited to register as founding members. The one and only goal on the County-party’s agenda is for Iceland to join Norway as its 20th county or constituency. Author and ‘serial-editor’ Gunnar Smári Egilsson, founder of various weekly newspapers in the 1990’s and, later, of daily Fréttablaðið, initiated the proposed party and thereby its central topic.

Many remain unsure if the campaign is meant in earnest, but Gunnar Smári stays dead-pan about the matter. He has claimed that the 2009–2013 left-left government’s big mistake was not to open a debate about Iceland’s foundations, not to ask what sort of society the Icelandic population wants to live in. He claims that due to the lack of big questions, the country’s political and economic power is now back in the hands of the same old fraternities as before. He points out that Iceland’s independence has always only been nominal, at best, that Iceland split with Denmark while under US occupation, and went bust soon after the US military’s 2006 departure. He says Iceland is too small for politics to ever be anything but corrupt. Last but not least, Gunnar Smári is certainly not alone in claiming that the ‘flexibility’ of the Icelandic currency remains mainly an expense of Icelandic households, costing the population up to one-third of what would otherwise be its income.

Gunnar Smári has drafted a list of the foreseen County-Party’s election promises, the first one being the end of the Icelandic króna, when Iceland will take up Norway’s krone. According to point no. 2 on the list, salaries among the working classes will increase up to 100%. 3. Benefits will increase to the point of enabling recipients to lead dignified lives, and so on, up to the least economic and most political point in case: 10. “Iceland’s political parties will not be able to ruin society’s founcation, upon which rest the lives and safety of normal people. The powers of the old parties will be limited to decision-making on the county- and municipal levels (as long as anyone votes for them). Possibly the parties can evolve through their connection with Norway’s more mature tradition of discourse and decision-making”.

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