Árni Páll Árnason, leader of the Social Democratic Alliance, announced on Friday that he is withdrawing his candidacy for the upcoming leadership vote. The news came just a week after he announced that he intended to remain party leader, if members voted for him at the upcoming national party conference.
In an email to his party, Árni says he has spoken to many within the Social Democrats and has prepared his manifesto, organized the election campaign and collected the signatures of supporters throughout the country. He says he sensed great support for the idea of an open and diverse centrist party to fight hand-in-hand with the labor movement for social justice, equal opportunity and individual freedom.
“But I cannot ignore that there is more to it than this vision and my character and the sequence of events from the last national conference makes me skeptical that such a party could form with me as chairman. A difficult struggle would await me, within a party that is already battered and bruised, that nobody knows what would result,” Árni Páll wrote.
He says the party finds itself in an unacceptable position and warns party members against thinking there is any simple solution to its problems, RÚV reports.
“But socialist ideals need a united and sensible party to communicate them and for personalities not to get in their way. I have therefore decided not to offer myself up for re-election as chairman of the party.”
A Fréttablaðið opinion poll this week suggested that support for the Social Democrats continues to slide, while support for the Independence Party and the Left Green Movement is increasing. The Pirate Party is also on the slide, but remains the most popular party by a hair’s breadth.