[Marxism] Soc.dems and Left Greens set to win majority in Iceland elections
jjonas at nic.fi
Sun Apr 26 04:59:13 MDT 2009
Centre-left wins Iceland election
Iceland's interim centre-left government has won a resounding victory in
early parliamentary elections, preliminary results show.
With more than 80% of the vote counted, the coalition secured 34 seats
in the 63-member parliament - its first ever parliamentary majority.
Iceland has been one of the countries most dramatically affected by the
global economic crisis.
The centre-right cabinet resigned in January amid mass street protests.
The Social Democratic Alliance and the Left Green Movement formed a
coalition caretaker government in February, under Prime Minister Johanna
Ms Sigurdardottir said if the results of Saturday's poll were correct it
would be "historic".
"This is the first time that leftist parties will hold a majority. I
hope this will be the result," she said.
Ms Sigurdardottir told supporters the nation was "settling the score
with the neoliberalism" and with the conservative Independence Party who
"have been in power for much too long".
"The people are calling for a change of ethics. That is why they have
voted for us," she said.
The Independence party, who was expected to secure 16 seats, conceded
There is also the question of whether or not to apply to join the
In the past, Icelanders felt that they were better off outside the EU.
But the financial crisis has changed opinions, our correspondent says.
Now, many see EU membership or adopting the Euro as Iceland's currency,
as part of the solution to the country's problems.
Pro-EU Ms Sigurdardottir said if the country applied immediately for
membership it could begin using the Euro "within four years".
However, the Left Green Movement - Ms Sigurdardottir's coalition partner
- remains eurosceptic.
EU accession debate dominates Iceland election
24.04.2009 @ 17:15 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The snap general election in Iceland on Saturday
(25 April) is set to return the governing minority red-red coalition to
power but with a clean majority as voters ditch en masse the free-market
and liberalising ideology of the centre-right Independence Party, the
governors of the tiny north Atlantic nation for almost two decades and
the architects of its economic collapse.
While the issues in the election have been varied, the question of
whether to join the European Union has utterly dominated. But it is far
from a sure thing that Iceland will apply to join the bloc, as while the
leading Social Democrat Alliance are unabashed EU supporters, their
coalition partners, the far-left Left Green Movement are steadfast
opponents of entry.
The two parties are neck and neck in the polls. According to a Gallup
poll released on the eve of the vote by national daily Morgunbladid and
the public broadcaster, RUV, the Social Democrats, on 29 percent, pip
their rivals to their left, who are backed by 27.4 percent.
If their support holds up, the two parties will win 19 and 18 seats in
the Althingi, the country's parliament, respectively.
The Independence Party is on 23.6 percent and the centrist Progressive
Party has 12 percent.
Adding to the left surge, the Citizens' Movement, which grew out of the
Busahaldabyltingin, or Kitchenware Revolution, in January that resulted
in the resignation of the government, is projected to win 6.5 percent of
the vote. This would give the infant party four seats.
The protests took on the name Busahaldabyltingin for the pots and pans
used as noise making instruments and the local delicacy, Skyr - a kind
of curd, which was thrown at police.
The senior partners in the current caretaker government, the Social
Democrats, strongly favour EU access.
On Monday (21 April), the Social Democratic prime minister, Johanna
Sigurdardottir, said that the country must apply for membership in the
bloc immediately after the elections and that if her party won, they
would make such a move their top priority.
"It is important to apply for (EU) membership right away, so that people
can see what we can get," she told the Morgunbladid paper.
"I predict that in four years we will have adopted the euro," she added.
Her partners in the Left Green Movement meanwhile argue: "Iceland's
economic life is better situation outside of the EU than within it. They
believe that the bloc is too pro-free-market and its structures are not
However, the party has left the door open to membership in saying that
it would support a referendum on whether to start negotiations on entry
with the EU and a second referendum on whether to join.
The people themselves strongly back the idea of opening talks with
Brussels, but they equally strongly oppose joining.
A March poll showed that 64.2 percent favour beginning negotiations, but
just 39.7 in favour of entering the EU.
A range of commentators and analysts meanwhile have argued that
remaining outside the union would result in a second, deeper crash, or
kreppa in Icelandic.
At the very least, they have said, if the country does not abandon the
krona for the euro, international companies will soon abandon the
The Left Greens, for their part, favour a sort of currency union with
Nevertheless, despite their disagreement over the EU and the euro, the
two parties are almost certain to remain partners, as both have
categorically ruled out any coalition with the Independence party.
Eyglo, a middle-aged barmaid in an Irish pub in Keflavik, was typical in
her anger at the former ruling party and not afraid that the government
is likely to be by some degree the most left-wing in Europe.
"I know these people are very left-wing, but why not give them a
chance?" she told EUobserver.
"Do something for the poor people. The others did everything for the
rich. They did nothing good."
See also http://icelandweatherreport.com/
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