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Iceland’s Parliament to Vote on EU Today

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Iceland’s Parliament to Vote on EU Today

The Icelandic parliament, Althingi, will at noon today vote on whether Iceland should apply for membership to the European Union and subsequently launch membership talks. The vote will take place after leaders of the five parliamentary parties have presented their views on the matter.

Inside Althingi. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

First, MPs will vote on a proposal from the Independence Party for a double referendum—whether a referendum should be held on whether membership talks should be launched in the first place, Fréttabladid reports.

Not only Independence Party MPs support that proposal. Gudfrídur Lilja Grétarsdóttir of the Left-Green Movement, which along with the Social Democratic Alliance comprises the coalition government, has openly declared her support for a double referendum. Other Left-Green MPs, as well as MPs from the Progressive Party and Civic Movement, are also likely to vote in favor.

However, if the government’s parliamentary resolution on EU membership is rejected and the Left-Greens act against their partner in the coalition, the Social Democrats and the coalition government will suffer such a severe setback that the government could automatically collapse as a result, according to Fréttabladid.

Ruv.is reports that the voting today could go either way. While it originally looked as if the majority of MPs supported the government’s parliamentary resolution, three out of four MPs for the Civic Movement, who previously were in favor of EU membership, announced yesterday that they are determined to reject the resolution and vote for the the Independence Party’s proposal.

Thór Saari, one of the Civic Movement’s MPs, explained that he, Margrét Tryggvadóttir and Birgitta Jónsdóttir want the Icesave debate to be postponed until next fall. If it is not, they will not support the government’s resolution on the EU. Saari, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir and Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon attempted to arrive at a compromise last night, but in vain.

RÚV will broadcast live from the voting at Althingi today, starting at 12 noon.

Click here to read more about Iceland and the EU.

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