About 7,000 Icelanders protested in front of parliament today, objecting to Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson (Progressive) declaring European Union accession talks over without putting the matter up for parliamentary vote. The minister likened the response from parliamentary opposition to a coup d’etat.
RÚV reports that police estimate some 7,000 attended today’s protests in front of parliament. The organisation Við viljum kjósa (“We Want To Vote”), which organised the protest, say that the minister has gone against the will of the people by declaring accession talks over without the matter being put up for parliamentary vote, let alone referendum – as both government parties promised to do in campaign season.
Parliamentary opposition has already sent a letter to the EU, Kjarninn reports, wherein they clarify that Gunnar Bragi does not have the authority to declare talks over; that the matter needs to be put up for a vote first. Gunnar Bragi responded on television station Stöð 2 by saying of the letter, “If that’s not a coup d’etat…”, leaving the sentence unfinished.
The minister said that the reason he sent a letter to the EU, rather than put the matter up for vote, was because last time he attempted to have a vote on ending talks with the EU, the resolution was “held hostage”.