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‘Live or Let Die’ for Former PM and His Rival

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‘Live or Let Die’ for Former PM and His Rival

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson

Former PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The weekend after this one, the future of two prominent politicians of the Progressive Party could be determined.

This weekend, the central committee meeting of the Progressive Party will be held in Akureyri, North Iceland. At the meeting, the party leader, former PM Sigmundur Davíð Guðmundsson will talk to party members, and a decision will be made regarding the party’s convention.

The following weekend, a constituency meeting will be held, where party representatives for the Northeastern constituency will be chosen. Sigmundur Davíð is running for the top seat, but three MPs are running against him: Höskuldur Þórhallsson, Líneik Arna Sævarsdóttir and Þórunn Egilsdóttir.

Party members will select candidates for each seat on the list of representatives, beginning with the top spot. Birgir Guðmundsson, associate professor of political science at Akureyri University, who was interviewed on RÚV radio this morning, believes tension will be high that weekend: “In these elections at the constituency meeting, I think it’s actually “live or let die,” both for Höskuldur and Sigmundur Davíð, because if Sigmundur Davíð doesn’t make it to the top seat in the constituency, then he’s basically out. That’s my assessment. Then he won’t be able to enter the convention and run for chairman of the party if he lacks the mandate from his constituency. I find it likely he wouldn’t even try to.”

Birgir continued, “If Höskuldur loses and doesn’t get the top spot, then I assume that would be the end of his career, at least in these elections, because it’s tough for Höskuldur to run in second place, behind Sigmundur Davíð, and join him in the election campaign, the man he has declared no one trusts, and whom he doesn’t trust, and whom he has been criticizing, even publicly in newspaper articles.”

Sigmundur stepped down as PM in April, following the Panama Papers scandal, but remained the chairman of the party.

Höskuldur unsuccessfully ran against Sigmundur as chairman of the party in 2009. Last week, he declared his support for PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson as party leader and encouraged him to run against Sigmundur Davíð at the party’s convention.

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