In her speech at a convention for the Social Democrats on Saturday, Foreign Minister and Social Democrat party chairman, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, said that early elections were not timely, despite indications that it would in many ways be convenient for the Social Democrats.
Gísladóttir pointed out that her party is supported by a majority of voters according to recent opinion polls, “But we cannot let that alone determine our decision [about elections]. In my mind the prioritizing in such times is simple: First the people, then the party.” Morgunbladid reports.
Gísladóttir stated that no one, apart from opponents of the Social Democrats, would benefit from early elections before important decisions had been made, such as whether Iceland should join the European Union. “Isn’t that the most important issue?” the minister asked.
However, Gísladóttir said that, given the crisis undergone by the nation, it was natural and even unavoidable to change the composition of Iceland’s coalition government. The demand for elections is echoed throughout the Social Democratic Alliance because the party has strong democratic roots and does not ignore public opinion, she added.
Gísladóttir also pointed out that the Social Democrats had on numerous occasions criticized the economic management in the past few terms, especially the danger of expanding the economy without backup from the EU and the euro.
Members of the Social Democrats are divided in their opinions on whether early elections should be held or not. Almost 40 people held speeches during the Social Democrat convention on Saturday.
Minister of Commerce Björgvin G. Sigurdsson and Minister for the Environment Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir have declared their support for elections next spring. Normally, the current term would end in 2011.
Gísladóttir also discussed the dispute between Icelandic and British authorities in her speech. She said that there remained many questions regarding Britain’s implementation of anti-terrorism legislation to freeze Icelandic assets in the UK, especially since there had been no danger of an economic collapse in Britain due to defaults on Icesave deposits. In theory therefore, Iceland could take Britain to court, Gísladóttir explained.
However, last week Central Bank governor and chairman Davíd Oddsson claimed that he had information regarding the implementation of the anti-terrorism legislation that the Icelandic government did not have, and which could potentially change Iceland’s legal position.
“For a man in that position [Oddsson] to claim that he alone knows the reasons [behind the implementation of the anti-terrorism legislation] without sharing it with the nation is unbelievable,” Gísladóttir said.
Oddsson made such claims in a speech last week.
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Copyright of photo of Foreign Minister Gísladóttir: Icelandic Photo Agency.