Above Photo: ‘Elections now!’ was the simple demand of these protestors yesterday. Photo: Iceland Monitor/Kristján
Gunnlaugsson to resign as PM, party agrees
Members of the Progressive Party have agreed at a party meeting today that Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson should stand aside as PM of Iceland.
The proposal to stand down as PM reportedly came from Gunnlaugsson himself.
The meeting has proposed Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, currently Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture, as new Prime Minister of Iceland.
The decision taken by the party only affects Gunnlaugsson’s status as Prime Minister. He remains the leader of the party.
It is not yet clear what this development means for the current governing coalition. Gunnlaugsson had originally been adamant that he would not resign and that the coalition was strong.
Related article: Iceland PM: “I will not resign”
Reports suggest that Bjarni Benediktsson, Finance Minister and leader of the Progressive Party’s coalition partner, intends to speak to Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson soon on the subject of continuing government cooperation
PM’s resignation “not enough” – vote of no confidence still active
The government opposition parties say that the PM’s decision to step aside is not sufficient and that their vote of no confidence is still active. Speaking to mbl.is, Árni Páll Árnason from the Alliance Party says that the PM’s actions were just “another factor in this sad turn of events.”
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, leader of the Left Green Party says that today’s course of events was bizarre. “At nine o’clock this morning, the Prime Minister states that the government is certainly not hanging by a thread and was standing firm. At noon, he had arrived at the President’s residence with a proposition to dissolve the government and call for an election and at 3pm he tells us he’s stepping aside as PM and putting his deputy party leader as Prime Minister.”
She added in an interview with mbl.is that “this is not enough.”
Birgitta Jónsdóttir of the Pirate party and Óttar Proppé, leader of the Bright Future Party simply said to mbl.is that they were looking into the matter.
It can therefore be expected that the planned protest at 5pm will go on to demand a dissolution of the government.
Major protests in Iceland expected again today
Over 2,000 people have so far announced on social media that they will be taking part in a second mass anti-government demonstration scheduled for today.
Less than 24 hours have passed since the end of yesterday’s historic demonstration which saw 23,000 people (according to organisers’ estimates) descend on central Reykjavik to demand the resignation of the government and early general elections.
Although MPs are not debating today, a large crowd is still expected outside the parliament building from 5pm.