From Iceland — Prog Chair Waffles On Election Date; Coalition Partners Push Back

Prog Chair Waffles On Election Date; Coalition Partners Push Back

Published July 27, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Tensions are brewing between the Progressives and the Independence Party over when early elections will be held. Progressive Party chairperson and former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has back-pedaled on the matter, while some members of the Independence Party insist elections in October will be a reality.

Shortly after Sigmundur announced his intention to run for office again, reporters caught up with him to again ask about when elections will be held this autumn. Despite previous assurances that this will be a reality, he took a much different position with RÚV.

“It is naturally out of the question for the government to nail down some exact date while we don’t know where matters are going,” he told reporters, adding that there may be “elections before the end of the year”.

However, as Social Democrat MP Oddný Harðardóttir points out, Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson told parliament last April that three matters needed to be legislated through before elections could be held: housing, capital controls, and health care. Oddný contends that all legislation pertaining to these matters “were passed with good cooperation between the ruling coalition and the opposition”, and there is therefore no reason to delay early elections any longer.

In fact, members of the Independence Party are of much the same mind. Parliamentary President Einar K. Guðfinnsson told Vísir there was no doubt that there will be elections this autumn. Numerous members of the Independence Party were of the same position, with some MPs speculating that they could happen anywhere from mid-October to early November, but will happen regardless. Independence Party MP Ragnheiður Ríkharðsdóttir even went so far as to say it does not matter what Sigmundur says on the matter.

It should be noted that, according to the latest polls, the Independence Party is currently polling just barely behind the Pirates, making them the second largest party in the country, while the Progressives have been languishing in the single digits for months now.

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