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Progressive Party Elects New Leader

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Progressive Party Elects New Leader

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson

PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, the new Progressive Party chairman, speaking at the party's convention. Photo: Screenshot from RÚV.

This afternoon, the Progressive Party elected Icelandic PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson as its new leader, on the second day of the party’s convention in Háskólabíó cinema in Reykjavík. The result of the election had been awaited with great anticipation.

There were two candidates for the position, party chairman Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, and vice chairman of the party, Sigurður Ingi. Sigurður Ingi received 370 votes, while Sigmundur Davíð got 329, according to RÚV.

The party leadership has been in turmoil since early April, when Sigmundur Davíð was forced to resign as prime minister after his connections to an offshore company on the Island of Tortola were revealed in the Panama Papers. At that time, Sigurður Ingi, the vice chairman of the party and minister of fisheries and agriculture, took over as prime minister.

Although Sigmundur Davíð resigned as prime minister, he remained the leader of the party. Following the Panama Papers scandal, the party’s following in polls plummeted. Due to the scandal, parliamentary elections, not due until the spring of 2017, were called for early and scheduled for October 29 this year.

In recent weeks, tremors in the party have rapidly increased, culminating in Sigurður Ingi’s announcement on September 23 that he intended to run against Sigmundur Davíð for the position of party chairman.

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