Foreign Minister and chairman of the Social Democrats Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir stated last weekend that early parliamentary elections could take place in spring 2009, following changes to the constitution aimed at enabling Iceland’s membership to the European Union.
Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency
Minister of Education and vice-chairman for the Independence Party Thorgerdur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir wrote in Fréttabladid yesterday that she didn’t support Gísladóttir’s idea of organizing parliamentary elections and a referendum on EU membership at the same time.
Gunnarsdóttir pointed out that two parliamentary sessions would be necessary to change the constitution and if elections and a referendum would be held at the same time, “the parliament would not have any time to review such extensive changes to the constitution.”
Gísladóttir admitted that her idea was out of the ordinary yet maintained that all of these matters could go hand in hand.
Prime Minister and chairman of the Independence Party Geir H. Haarde wrote last week that he believes that not only should Iceland have a referendum on EU membership but also on whether membership discussions should be undertaken in the first place.
In response to Haarde’s proposal, Gísladóttir said that if a referendum would conclude that EU membership discussions should not be undertaken at all, people would never know what membership discussions could have led to.
According to Fréttabladid, some members of the Independence Party believe that the Social Democrats are using the EU discussion to split their coalition with the Independence Party.
Gísladóttir dismissed such claims in an interview with RÚV yesterday, saying that, “If someone had been looking for a reason, the economic collapse had been enough of a reason,” explaining that many members of the Social Democrats held the Independence Party responsible for the crisis to a large extent since they had been in power since 1991.
Click here to read more about the EU question.