From Iceland — Opposition Emerges Unconvinced From Meeting With PM

Opposition Emerges Unconvinced From Meeting With PM

Published April 22, 2016

A meeting with the Prime Minister did not produce an exact date for early elections, but we may know which month they could happen.

RÚV reports that the ruling coalition is aiming for early elections in late October, although an exact date has not yet been set. There may also be a summer session of parliament, as there are still some 75 piece of legislation which must be discussed and voted on.

Reporters spoke with opposition leaders on their way out of the meeting, none of them particularly impressed with Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson’s proposal.

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the chairperson of the Left-Greens, told reporters that while it is always positive when the government meets with the opposition, “The government has not said anything that convinces me it is wiser to have elections in the autumn than in the spring.”

These sentiments were backed up by Pirate Party captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who described the meeting as “pointless”, adding, “I felt less informed after this meeting than before it.”

Social Democrat chairperson Árni Páll Árnason was more accommodating, saying that the meeting was neither good nor bad.

As reported, Progressive MP Ásmundur Einar Daðason, at a meeting with Progressive in Ísafjörður last Wednesday, told attendees that the ruling coalition was “looking into the possibility” of early elections this autumn. This is quite different from the contentions of Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, himself also a member of the Progressives, who told reporters last week that “there is no doubt” that elections will be held in the autumn.

Ásmundur added furthermore that the ruling coalition has a “mandate” to stay in office until spring 2017, which is when parliamentary elections were originally slated to take place, suggesting that the government is prioritising passing its submitted legislation before deciding on when elections will be held.

Opposition party leadership have already expressed confidence that the ruling coalition will stand by their word when it comes to autumn elections.

Despite both ruling coalition and opposition MPs alike seemingly satisfied with autumn elections, the latest poll shows that the largest share of Icelanders want immediate parliamentary dissolution, with elections to follow much sooner than the autumn.

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