Talks Continue for Iceland’s Red-Green Government

News

Talks Continue for Iceland’s Red-Green Government

Discussions on the formation of a minority government between the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens are well underway and are expected to be concluded tonight or tomorrow. However, the parties are in disagreement on some issues.

These issues include the exact date of the early parliamentary elections. Chairman of the Left-Greens Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told Morgunbladid that his party proposes elections at the end of March or the beginning of April, preferably on the last Saturday before Easter, April 4.

The Social Democrats, on the other hand, have proposed May 30 as a date for the next general elections as well as a referendum on EU membership for Iceland.

Outgoing Minister of Social Affairs Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir of the Social Democrats, who most likely will be Iceland's next prime minister. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

According to Morgunbladid’s sources, neither the Social Democrats nor the Progressive Party, which has declared itself prepared to defend the minority government from a vote of no confidence, approve of a planned bill by the Left-Greens on freezing the assets of wealthy individuals. Both claim such an action would violate constitutional law. Sigfússon said this matter has not been discussed with the Progressive Party.

However, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens are in agreement on which matters most importantly need to be carried out before elections, such as measures to save households and companies in the country from foreclosure and bankruptcy, changes to the board of the Central Bank, reviewing the reorganization of the healthcare system and the abolishment of the controversial retirement regulations for ministers and MPs.

Sigfússon stated that there are no plans to have a referendum on EU membership at the same time as parliamentary elections. He also said the Left-Greens are realistic about the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that it cannot be revoked.

Vice-chairman for the Left-Greens Katrín Jakobsdóttir told RÚV that according to the schedule, the IMF agreement will be reviewed every three months and that her party is keen on reviewing the agreement next month.

Sigfússon said it is no longer in the picture to file a lawsuit because of the Icesave dispute, which in addition to the IMF agreement is something the Left-Greens criticized the outgoing government for.

Both parties support outgoing Minister of Social Affairs Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir of the Social Democrats as prime minister, although there have been no official appointments made to the new cabinet.

According to Morgunbladid’s sources, the parties have discussed appointing an expert in economics, who does not have a seat in parliament, as minister of business affairs. Economists such as Gylfi Magnússon, Thorvaldur Gylfason and Lilja Mósesdóttir have been mentioned in this regard.

Björgvin G. Sigurdsson of the Social Democrats resigned from his post as minister of business affairs on Sunday.

Click here to read more about that story and here to read more about the prospective red-green government.