Budget Bill for 2011 Passed by Iceland’s Parliament Skip to content

Budget Bill for 2011 Passed by Iceland’s Parliament

Thirty-two MPs voted in favor of the 2011 budget bill after the third round of discussions in the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, yesterday. Thirty-one MPs abstained in the voting but no one voted against it.

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From Althingi. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

Three MPs of the Left-Greens, one of the coalition parties in Iceland’s government, Lilja Mósesdóttir, Atli Gíslason and Ásmundur Einar Dadason abstained, visir.is reports.

Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson, professor in political sciences at the University of Iceland, told Fréttabladid that the MPs having abstained in the budget bill voting is in fact a declaration that they don’t support the government anymore.

“It is unheard of and would be considered a very bold move in all of our neighboring countries. If the executive comes to the parliament with its budget bill and an MP rejects that budget bill, it must be considered a very strong vote of no confidence on the executive’s leadership,” Kristinsson explained.

Minister of Finance and chairman of the Left-Greens Steingrímur J. Sigfússon harshly criticized his party members and declared their decision a blow to him as chairman of the Left-Greens and as Minister of Finance.

He echoed Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir’s earlier words in saying that the three MPs now have to decide whether or not they support the government.

Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, chairwoman of Sigurdardóttir’s Social Democrats parliamentary group, said she now considers that the rebel MPs are part of the opposition.

“I estimate the government’s position such that it is supported by 32 MPs of 63 in Althingi and consequently has a majority by one person,” she elaborated.

Minister of Justice Ögmundur Jónasson, a member of the Left-Greens, doesn’t agree. “I don’t think people should interpret this any other way than it is intended, as a positive encouragement for politics. […] I encourage people to see it as personal politics.”

In a joint statement by the three MPs published by visir.is, they point out that while significant cutbacks are made to many important issues, insignificant cutbacks are made to the state’s administration.

Before the third round of discussions on the budget bill took place, cutbacks to healthcare had been eased considerably.

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