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Trouble within Progressive Party

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Trouble within Progressive Party

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson

PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The weekend’s events revealed there is trouble within the Progressive Party. Icelandic PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson’s announcement at the party’s central committee meeting in Akureyri took many by surprise, RÚV reports. He declared he would not run for the position of vice chairman of the party if the party leadership did not change. Clearly, there is disagreement between Sigurður Ingi, who is currently the party’s vice chairman, and former PM and Party Chairman Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who resigned as PM in April, following the Panama Papers scandal.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson stated the PM’s declaration was a surprise. He does not believe Sigurður Ingi will run against Sigmundur for the leadership position; such a move, he stated, would be going back on his word.

Another surprise at the meeting was the announcement of Sveinbjörn Eyjólfsson, head of the Cattle Insemination Center in Borgarfjörður that he would be running for party chairman. In an interview with RÚV, he explained that he wanted to ensure that there be an election for the chairmanship, but in the event that Sigurður Ingi runs, Sveinbjörn said he would instantly withdraw his bid.

Progressive Party MPs interviewed by RÚV were unsure how to interpret Sigurður Ingi’s announcement. It could either signal his preparation for a run as a chairman of the party or his departure from the party leadership.

Gunnar Bragi believes Sigmundur Davíð has solid support as chairman of the party, and he hopes any disagreement between him and the PM will be settled.

Vísir reports that central committee members of the party have confessed the Progressive Party convention in October won’t be a polite one. There, they expect the future of the party to be debated.

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