Published February 15, 2017
A new poll shows that the majority of Icelanders are against the passage of a proposed bill that would, if passed, allow for the sale of alcohol in private shops.
Kjarninn published the results of the poll, conducted by Zenter. It shows that 61.5% of respondents are opposed to the sale of alcohol in private shops, with only 22.8% supporting the measure but 15.7% having no opinion.
There were differences of opinion depending on demographics as well. Younger Icelanders were more likely to support the private sale of alcohol than older ones, as were more men than women, and more capital area residents than those living in the countryside.
As reported, four parties – the ruling coalition of the Independence Party, the Reform Party and Bright Future, in addition to the Pirate Party – introduced a bill to parliament earlier this month that would permit the sale of alcohol in private shops, starting in the beginning of 2018. 5% of the alcohol tax will go directly to the Health Fund, for the express purpose of funding prevention of alcohol abuse. In addition, the advertising of alcoholic beverages will also be legalised.
While this level of parliamentary support on the surface would appear to make the matter a foregone conclusion, not everyone in these parties is 100% on board. Vísir reported that Independence Party MP Ásmundur Friðriksson told reporters that he would vote against it, and both Pirate Party MP Einar Brynjólfsson and Progressive Party MP Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir said they were uncertain if they would vote in favour.
As many readers are aware, it is not only illegal to advertise alcohol in Iceland; alcohol itself may only be sold at designated State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR) stores. The “beer” you might see on offer in grocery stores is, in fact, merely near-beer with an alcohol content of 2.5% or lower.