The new Icelandic government has survived the opposition’s vote of no confidence, just one day into its existence.
During a five-and-a-half-hour session of parliament tempers were frayed on both sides of the argument on whether the government should be dissolved and a new election called for this spring.
The session ended with two votes: one a straightforward vote of no confidence in the government, and the second a vote on whether to adjourn parliament and call an election.
All 63 MPs were in attendance and the no confidence vote was defeated by 38 votes to 25. All government MPs voted ‘no,’ while all opposition MPs voted ‘yes.’
The second vote, to call an early election, was also a defeat for the opposition; with the ‘no’ votes winning by 37 to 26.
Independence Party MP Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir decided to vote with the opposition on the ballot, saying she thinks it is would be in her party’s best interest to state its case to the electorate and renew its mandate at the polls. She was the only government rebel in a vote which otherwise went entirely as predicted.
Meanwhile, the sound of loud protests could be heard from outside parliament throughout the long debate.
The Icelandic political establishment has been in turmoil since it was revealed on Sunday April 3 that three government ministers were implicated in the global Panama Papers scandal, relating to offshore businesses. The Icelandic PM decided to step aside from his role, though to remain an MP and the leader of his party. The other two implicated ministers remain and there is palpable public anger and calls from some for new elections right away.