President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson told reporters he is not yet prepared to dissolve parliament at this time, but matters could change today.
Just minutes ago, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson left the residence of President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson after a meeting that took roughly 40 minutes. The President held a press conference in the wake of this meeting to discuss the current instability between the Progressive Party and the Independence Party.
The President revealed that the Prime Minister came to him with the request to dissolve parliament and call for early elections. The President, however, told reporters he is not yet prepared to take that step.
“The President needs to determine if there is support for [dissolving parliament] within the ruling coalition and elsewhere,” the President told reporters. “The Prime Minister could not confirm that for me, and I am therefore not prepared at this time to dissolve parliament.”
However, the President said he will be meeting with Independence Party chairperson and Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson “in a few hours” to discuss the matter further and, in the wake of that meeting, possibly meet with the President of Parliament to discuss the next steps to take.
The President also said he took issue with “dragging the President into this matter in this way,” referring to the Prime Minister having phoned him personally to call for this meeting, and having announced his preparedness to dissolve parliament on Facebook.
In the event the President agrees to dissolve parliament, an emergency coalition may need to be formed, with new elections possibly happening in as little as 45 days.
The Grapevine will keep readers updated as events unfold.
UPDATE: Vísir reports that parliamentary members of the Progressive Party are currently in an informal meeting – without the Prime Minister. For his part, the Prime Minister told the press to check Facebook if reporters want to know if Bjarni agrees with Sigmundur on dissolving parliament, saying, “Facebook can often be a better source than what you hear at a press conference.”
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