Government Stalling; Opposition, Public Anger Increases - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Government Stalling; Opposition, Public Anger Increases

Published April 6, 2016

Photo by
Art Bicnick

As the government again blocks opposition efforts to submit a no confidence proposal, public discontent continues.

Parliamentary president Einar K. Guðfinnsson told RÚV that putting the opposition’s no confidence proposal up for discussion tomorrow is no longer on the table. Einar cited extenuating circumstances behind the decision.

“The current Prime Minister [Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson] has expressed that he intends to step aside,” Einar said. “It could very well be that the circumstances will be completely different tomorrow from what they are right now. I considered it inadvisable to bring in the no confidence proposal now waiting in the wings if it ends up being obsolete tomorrow.”

Helgi Hjörvar, an MP for the Social Democrats, was having none of it.

“It is out of the question that the no confidence proposal will not be taken up tomorrow,” he told RÚV. “By tomorrow, the proposal will have sat in parliament for three days without the majority MPs taking a position on whether they trust themselves in their own leadership position or not.”

At the time of this writing, presumed Prime Minister replacement Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson is in talks with Independence Party chairperson and Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson on what their next steps will be. Vísir reports that they will announce tomorrow morning if or how the ruling coalition will continue.

Sigmundur has struggled to defend his position, sending a press release to international media that has has not resigned, all the while his assistant and numerous Progressive MPs providing assurances that he is stepping aside – for the time being.

Sigurður is a less than popular choice amongst the opposition and the general public alike, not only as a staunch defender of Sigmundur Davíð and offshore accounts, but also on account of a public opinion poll taken last month showing him enjoying the trust of only 3% of respondents.

A new round of protests are scheduled to take place in front of parliament this afternoon, for the third day in a row, and high levels of attendance are predicted.

For more on this continuing story, follow our Panama Papers tag on Grapevine.is/news.

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