Icelandic parliamentary election, 2007


Icelandic parliamentary election, 2007

The 2007 Icelandic general elections were held on 12 May, 2007. In this election, the public elected 63 members of parliament using proportional representation from six constituencies to the Alþingi. Six parties participated in the elections: the two parties of the then government coalition, the right wing Independence Party and the centrist Progressive Party, and the opposition parties in the Alþingi, the social democratic Alliance, the Left-Green Movement and the Liberal Party; one new party, the environmentalist Iceland's Movement – Living Land also participated in the elections. The Fighting Union, which is in favour of disabled and senior citizens' rights, had failed to present lists of candidates in due time in five out of six constituencies, and therefore decided to withdraw from the elections.

The then governing parties got a razor thin majority, 32 members of the Parliament against the opposition's 31, due to considerable losses for the Progressive Party, which had the worst election in its more than 90-year history. Major outcomes of the elections were also the considerable strengthening of the Left-Green Movement, was the election's big winner, and the failure of Iceland's Movement – Living Land to clear the election threshold and enter the parliament, though it got 3.3% of the votes. [http://www.norden.org/webb/news/news.asp?id=6957&lang=6 New Icelandic Minister for Nordic Co-operation] After five days of speculation, it was decided on 17 May that the government would resign and the 12-year long coalition between Independence Party and Progressive would end. Later the same day, the leaders of the Independence Party and of the largest opposition party, the Social Democratic Alliance, Geir H. Haarde, the outgoing Prime Minister, and Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, former mayor of Reykjavík, decided to try to form a new majority coalition. Haarde formally resigned on 18 May on behalf of his outgoing government. Simultaneously, he was assigned by the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the mandate to form a new majority coalition. The coalition meetings between the Independence Party and the Alliance were held in Reykjavík and at Þingvellir, where Alþingi was established in the year of 930. On 22 May the two parties reached an agreement, and the new government took over on 24 May. The ministers are as follows: [ [http://government.is/government Government Offices of Iceland] ] [ [http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_news/?cat_id=16568&ew_0_a_id=282595 Iceland Review- New administration for Iceland's government] ]

*Geir H. Haarde, Prime Minister (IP)
*Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Minister of Foreign Affairs (SDA)
*Árni M. Mathiesen, Minister of Finance (IP)
*Einar K. Guðfinnsson, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture (IP)
*Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister of Industries (SDA)
*Björgvin G. Sigurðsson, Minister of Commerce (SDA)
*Björn Bjarnason, Minister of Justice (IP)
*Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, Minister of Education (IP)
*Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Minister of Social Affairs (SDA)
*Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister of Health (IP)
*Kristján L. Möller, Minister of Transportation (SDA)
*Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, Minister of Environment (SDA)

The Government enjoys a vast majority on Alþingi, 43 out of 63 members supporting it. In the government's manifesto it is stated that it will focus on children, the elderly and the environment. The government will lower taxes and raise benefits and invest heavily in education and transportation. [http://eng.forsaetisraduneyti.is/news-and-articles/nr/2646 Prim Ministers Office- Policy Statement 2007] The Social Democratic Alliance is more environmentalist and pro-EU and it stands against the war in Iraq and Iceland's participation in the "Coalition of the Willing". Nevertheless, no action was announced to stop or reconsider the building of large-scale industrial complexes such as aluminium smelters and in the development of new power plants, especially hydropower stations, or the country's participation in the war. [http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=37915 IPS News- ICELAND: Change - But How Much? - in the Wake of Elections] A commission, though, to weigh the pros and cons of European Union membership was set up, but without a clear mandate. [http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2556758,00.html Iceland Mulls EU Membership]

On 23 May the chairman of the Progressive Party, Jón Sigurðsson, the outgoing Minister of Industries and Commerce, announced his resignation, due to poor results in the election. The vice chairman, Guðni Ágústsson, the outgoing Minister of Agriculture, took the post over.

References


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