Leader of the Independence Party (Sjálfstaedisflokkurinn), Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, and leader of the Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn), Minister of Trade and Industry Jón Sigurdsson, are currently discussing whether their government has a future.
“There is no rush really, the government will stay unless we decide otherwise,” Haarde told Fréttabladid. He met with Sigurdsson yesterday and the two leaders are not expected to reach a decision for another few days.
The Independence Party and the Progressive Party received 32 MPs in total after the elections on Saturday, which gives them a slight majority in parliament and the ability to continue their governmental cooperation.
Sixty-three MPs have a seat in Althingi, Iceland’s parliament.
Haarde said the results of the elections alone would not determine whether the two parties would remain in government and said a prerequisite would have to be a political basis for a coalition.
The prime minister said the cooperation between the Independence Party and the Progressive Party had delivered good results so far. “Therefore it is natural that we consider continuing,” he added.
The Progressive Party suffered great loss in the elections. The party received 11.7 percent of votes compared to 17.7 percent in the 2003 elections, losing five MPs.
The Independence Party, on the other hand, was very successful in the elections on Saturday. The party received 36.6 percent of votes as compared to 33.7 in 2003, gaining three additional MPs.
More than 20 percent of the Independence Party’s voters in the constituency of south Iceland crossed out the name of Árni Johnsen, who was sentenced to prison in 2003 for fraud. By crossing out his name, voters demonstrate their dissatisfaction with Johnsen’s candidacy, thus attempting to influence whether he receives a parliament seat.
A number of Independence Party voters in the constituency of south Reykjavík allegedly crossed out the name of Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason.
Before the elections, Bónus CEO Jóhannes Jónsson, father of Baugur CEO Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, encouraged voters to cross out Bjarnason’s name, who was involved in bringing his son on trial.
“I don’t want to comment on what each voter does, but I don’t think crossing-outs in large quantities are fair,” Haarde commented.
The outcome of Saturday's elections: