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Progressive Party Power Struggle Continues

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Progressive Party Power Struggle Continues

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson

Former PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The conflict within the Progressive Party continued over the weekend. PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannson announced his intention on Friday night to run against former PM and current leader of the party Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson for the party leadership at the party convention, coming up this weekend. No sooner had he made the announcement than Sigmundur Davíð reacted by voicing his disappointment and stating, “[Sigurður Ingi] has often reiterated to me that he would never run against me. He has described it that way to people at meetings, let me quote him directly, that he would never, never, never declare his candidacy.” When asked by RÚV if he felt he had been betrayed, Sigmundur Davíð responded, “I find he has clearly not followed what was discussed.”

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson has also commented that Sigurður Ingi’s candidacy for the party leadership is a betrayal.

In a televised program on RÚV Thursday night, where all the political parties and their agendas were introduced, Sigmundur Davíð denied that the early elections in October wer being held because of the Wintris scandal, but Sigmundur Davíð resigned as prime minister after the Panama Papers revealed that he and his wife owned a company called Wintris on Tortola. He remarked, “You can’t apologize for having been subject to something you can only call an incredible attack, which since then has been found to be unwarranted and incredibly brutal.”

MP Vigdís Hauksdóttir declared on Saturday she was convinced Sigmundur Davíð would win the election by a large margin. “He enjoys a lot of trust in the party and has shown incredible foresight on behalf of the nation and succeeded in pushing many large cases through… so we simply can’t afford to sacrifice our best person.”

On Saturday, Minister of Social Affairs and Housing announced on her Facebook page that she would run for vice chair of the party, provided a new chairman is elected.

On Saturday, Progressive Party MP Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir told RÚV that the Wintris scandal was a major blow for party members in April. She would like to see PM Sigurður Ingi leading the party.

Silja Dögg confirmed today what Sigurður Ingi said yesterday, that the party group had intended to declare no confidence in Sigmundur Davíð at a meeting on April 5. She stated that before Sigmundur Davíð að Sigurður Ingi arrived at the meeting, the party group had discussed the situation and wanted Sigmundur Davíð to step down and Sigurður Ingi to take over as prime minister. Silja describes Sigurður Ingi as not having been enthusiastin about doing so, but that he thought it was his duty as vice chairman of the party. He consulted privately with Sigmundur Davíð, and then they appeared before the party group, Sigmundur Davíð suggesting that Sigurður Ingi take over as prime minister.

Silja Dögg resents the fact that Sigurður Ingi is being accused of betraying Sigmundur Davíð with his candidacy. She stated he had done a good job as prime minister.

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