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Sources Claim Lilja “Will be Foreign Minister”

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Sources Claim Lilja “Will be Foreign Minister”

Demonstration

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Major Icelandic media outlets are reporting that Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir will indeed be part of Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson’s new government as suspected—but that she will take the coveted post of Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Lilja was recommended by outgoing PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, as a cabinet replacement for himself, under the premiership of former fisheries minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson. But would Sigurður appoint her to fisheries, or to a different ministry? And would he even appoint her at all?

This morning, unnamed but reportedly-reliable sources are saying that Lilja will be made foreign minister, replacing Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, who has held the post for three years.

It seems likely that Gunnar Bragi will be slotted straight into fisheries—but Sigurður Ingi could equally choose to shake up his cabinet still further. There are two meetings with the President of Iceland scheduled for this afternoon: the first at 14.00 will see the old government dissolved, while the second at 15.00 will see the new (very similar) government sworn in.

Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir will be an unelected minister outside parliament—meaning that she is not an MP and will not sit in Alþingi.

She is an international economist by training and has been assistant director of the office of the director of the Central Bank of Iceland for several years, as well as working in international relations for the Central Bank. She was appointed as a temporary project manager at the Prime Ministry from 2014 to 2015.

Lilja has worked at the Central Bank of Iceland since 2001 and worked at the IMF in Washington DC from 2010 to 2013. She holds an international economics Master’s degree from Columbia University and a political sciences Bachelor’s degree from the University of Iceland.

The Icelandic political establishment has been in turmoil since it was revealed on Sunday April 3 that three government ministers were implicated in the global Panama Papers scandal, relating to offshore businesses. The Icelandic PM decided to step aside from his role, though to remain an MP and the leader of his party. The other two implicated ministers remain and there is palpable public anger and calls from some for new elections right away.

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