Former Iceland Left-Green Minister Leaves Party

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Former Iceland Left-Green Minister Leaves Party

Former Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Jón Bjarnason decided to leave the Left-Green Movement yesterday and work independently in parliament due to his disagreement with the government’s foreign affairs policy.

jon_bjarnason
Jón Bjarnason.

As reasons for his decision he listed the government’s failure to prioritize affairs of communities outside the capital region and the development of European Union talks.

“The party demanded that I leave the Foreign Affairs Committee because of my position on the EU accession application. I have fought membership and believe we should stop the talks. The party disagrees and so we cannot work together,” Jón reasoned to Fréttablaðið.

Jón told RÚV that he would continue to support the Social Democrat-Left-Green coalition government on issues that he agreed with but did not rule out that he would vote against it if a vote of no confidence were declared. He said he might also consider running for a different party in the coming election in April.

When pressed by Fréttablaðið whether the rumors that he is working on creating a new party with former Left-Green MP Atli Gíslason were true, Jón responded, “Let’s take one day at a time. I will continue to fight for my ideals and people know for what I stand.” He also pointed out that there were other platforms to do so.

Jón is the fourth Left-Green MP to leave the party this term. The others are Atli, Lilja Mósesdóttir and Ásmundur Einar Daðason. However, MP Þráinn Bertelsson, who ran for The Movement in the 2009 election, joined the Left-Greens later in the term.

Furthermore, as pointed out on ruv.is, former Social Democrat MP Róbert Marshall left the coalition to join the new political force Bright Future (Björt framtíð).

All these developments mean that the coalition parties no longer have a majority in parliament—only 30 MPs out of 63, down from the original 34 MPs—and must count on support from opposition parties to have their bills passed.

Click here to read more about recent political developments in Iceland.

ESA