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New Political Party Established in Iceland

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New Political Party Established in Iceland

Viðreisn

Benedikt Jóhannesson addresses the meeting. Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

A new political party, Viðreisn, was formally established at a meeting in Harpa yesterday. (The name of the party translates roughly into ‘Revival.’) The party intends to fight for a just society, a freedom of trade, economic stability and Western cooperation. It plans to put public interest before private interest and to ensure the interest of young people and competitive Icelandic companies. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on a sensible and self-sustaining use of natural resources, taking into account that untouched nature is also a natural resource. Completing membership negotiations with the European Union is emphasized, followed by a referendum on such an agreement.

When interviewed by RÚV, Benedikt Jóhannesson, chairman of the party said: “In the long run, the króna is the largest curse of the Icelandic economy and, thereby, of society in general, because almost every single day, people notice [its effect]; young people who want to buy an apartment pay an interest rate many times as high as what people their age in other countries pay; Icelandic companies competing with foreign ones must pay an 8 percent interest rate while the other ones pay 2 percent. It’s obvious to everyone that this is extremely unfair and that we need a new start.”

The party plans to run for Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, in all voting districts in the elections this fall. Benedikt denies the party’s being a split from the Independence Party. He noted, “People keep asking, ‘From where are you taking the votes?’ Nobody owns votes; voters have their own votes and if voters trust us, then they vote for us.”

Benedikt, who holds a Ph.D. in statistics and mathematics, runs the data analysis consulting company Talnakönnun, and the publishing company Heimur, which publishes Iceland Review.

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