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Minister Opposes Setting Date for Election

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Minister Opposes Setting Date for Election

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson believes it would be a major mistake to nail down an election day for the fall. That, in his opinion, would give the opposition the means to block the passage of resolutions in parliament, using a filibuster.

Gunnar Bragi was interviewed on RÚV Radio this morning.

“Let’s make it clear that as soon as we have a set date, that gives the opposition a certain weapon; then it can hold parliament hostage and determine exactly what resolutions will pass in parliament.” He added, “It can, in fact dictate the schedule with a filibuster or demands. That’s the reason we can’t set the [election] date ahead of time.”

“If the opposition is ready to pass resolutions that the government has emphasized, (in my opinion, there are few disputed issues), then we can set a date, but the opposition hasn’t been ready to do things this way, and, thus, a date has not been set. It would be a major mistake for the work of parliament and for the government, which intends to pass certain bills, to set the date ahead of time.”

Gunnar Bragi stated there are about 50 legislative issues that need to be passed through parliament before elections, naming specifically the agricultural bill.

He also spoke of former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, chairman of the Progressive Party: “The fact is that Sigmundur Davíð is the chairman of the party, and no one is likely to run against him. He has been a reliable and good chairman, and he has my complete confidence.”

Following the Panama Papers scandal, which cost former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson his job, it was decided that Iceland would hold an early parliamentary election this autumn. That decision was announced by Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson and Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and leader of the Independence Party, on April 6.

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