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Opposition Leaders Called to Government Meeting

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Opposition Leaders Called to Government Meeting

 Bjarni Benediktsson and Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The leaders of Iceland’s two ruling coalition parties, Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson and Minister of Financial Affairs, Bjarni Benediktsson, today called a meeting with opposition party leaders. As they did not give any more details than that, the mysterious meeting got people talking.

Upon leaving the office of the prime minister this afternoon, captain of the Pirate Party, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, described the meeting as “completely pointless.”

The government has still not set a date for elections this autumn, saying that pressing matters must be dealt with before parliament can be dissolved.

However, today’s meeting did clarify that the government plans for the election to take place in late October, and that parliament will probably be forced to sit over the summer to ensure that this will be possible.

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, leader of the Left Green Movement, was more positive than Birgitta in her appraisal, saying it is always positive when conversations take place between the government and the opposition—not that the government has managed to convince her on why it thinks it is better to vote in the autumn rather than now in the spring, she added.

Opposition leaders had gone into the meeting with demanding to see the government’s list of priorities in order, and for a date to be set for elections. They got neither, although they were allowed to see the list of priorities at the end of the meeting.

RÚV sources claim that the government parties are still working on their list of priorities, but Birgitta Jónsdóttir says that they appear to number about 75 items, which the government has not yet managed to put into a set order of importance. “I felt they were talking in circles. I felt less well-informed after the meeting than before,” Birgitta told reporters.

Meanwhile, Social Democrat leader Árni Páll Árnason says that no threats were made at the meeting and that the opposition have not made any promises to support the government in any of its bills just in order to bring elections closer.

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