From Iceland — Opposition Unhappy With New PM Choice, Will Press For Dissolution

Opposition Unhappy With New PM Choice, Will Press For Dissolution

Published April 5, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The parliamentary opposition will not withdraw a proposal to dissolve parliament, saying that the new PM is not enough to improve matters.

In the wake of news that Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson will resign as Prime Minister – to be replaced by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Sigurður Ingi Jóhannson – coalition co-leader and Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson told RÚV that he will be meeting with Sigurður to discuss the matter. Bjarni said he has no intention to seek the Prime Minister slot for himself, but told reporters that new developments will come to light over the next few days.

However, not everyone is on board with the choice of new PM. Sigurður has publicly defended the Prime Minister since the Panama Papers story broke, going so far as to defend the use of offshore accounts by saying, “It is complicated to have money in Iceland.” Furthermore, as Kjarninn points out, the results of a Fréttablaðið/Stöð 2 poll done last March showed only about 3% of respondents saying they trusted Sigurður.

Pirate Party captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir told RÚV that she sees no reason to withdraw the opposition’s proposal to dissolve parliament. She furthermore said that many things are still left unclear, such as whether Sigmundur will continue to be an MP.

Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakobsdóttir was of much the same mind, telling RÚV that the events which have transpired today are not the way to inspire trust in the government. She also believes that early elections need to move forward.

“I believe that this matter is serious enough that it is very important for the public to have the opportunity to vote for a new parliament,” she said.

For his part, Bjarni emphasised to RÚV that it is not a given that Sigurður will be the next Prime Minister, and that he will discuss with the Progressives whether early elections will be considered.

Another round of protests are scheduled to take place today.

For more on this continuing story, follow our Panama Papers tag on

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