The new legislative bill concerning the proposed sale of alcohol in supermarkets produced a fierce debate at the Althingi (parliament) yesterday.
Seventeen MPs from the Independence Party, Progressive Party and the Social Democrats put the bill forward. Today, there is a state monopoly on the selling of alcohol in Iceland, but if the proposal goes through, the sale of wine and beer will be allowed in supermarkets.
The debate about the proposal took most of Althingi’s schedule yesterday. Many MPs expressed their opinions on the matter and the divergence of opinions didn’t follow conventional party lines.
Those against the proposal said they feared that alcohol consumption would increase significantly which in turn would exacerbate the problems that follow abuse of alcohol.
However, those in favor pointed out that the current policies had not prevented abuse of alcohol and there was no reason to assume that employees of supermarkets would sell beer or wine to minors.
The debate yesterday is a part of the proposal’s first reading which will continue today. A legislative bill needs to undergo three readings in Althingi before it becomes law.