Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Jón Bjarnason is not supported by his own party, the Left-Green Movement, in parliament despite his declarations to the contrary.
At the party’s meeting yesterday serious discontent on how Jón has worked on changes to the fisheries control system was expressed, Fréttablaðið reports.
According to the newspaper’s sources, strong demands have been made that the composition of ministers in the cabinet be changed and that Jón step down.
It is considered likely that this will not be the only change in the cabinet and that the Social Democrats will also reshuffle their ministries; Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir is set to go on maternity leave early next year.
As for Jón’s position, many of his party members would like to see him leave the cabinet, as mentioned in yesterday’s meeting, reasoning that the changes to the draft bill on the fisheries control system were made behind their backs.
However, Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson told ruv.is that he supports Jón as continued minister of fisheries and agriculture.
Many Left-Greens are particularly dissatisfied with how Jón consulted other MPs without their knowledge, Fréttablaðið reports.
These include Atli Gíslason, who parted with the Left-Green Movement earlier this year and is now an independent MP. He was a member of Jón’s task force.
According to the newspaper, Jón is not satisfied with the prospect of stepping down as minister and said he will not continue to support the government if he is forced to do so.
This would place the government in a difficult situation because it is currently only backed with a one-person majority in parliament.
However, Atli has mentioned that he might retire from parliament which would result in Arndís Sigurðardóttir becoming an MP in Atli’s stead. She supports the government.
Also, Guðmundur Steingrímsson, who recently left the Progressive Party and now sits as an independent MP in parliament, has stated that he would defend the government in a case of a vote of no confidence.
The last major changes to the composition of ministers in the Social Democrat-Left-Green coalition were carried out in September 2010.
Click here to read more about that story.
Click here to read more about Jón’s position and the controversial changes to the laws on fishing quota, here to read about the fuss caused when Atli and other MPs abandoned the Left-Greens and here to read about Guðmundur leaving the Progressive Party.