Iceland’s Minister of Health Ögmundur Jónasson resigned yesterday due to disagreement with other cabinet ministers on how to approach the changes to the Icesave legislation preconditions, requested by the British and Dutch governments.
However, Jónasson will still support the government in parliament. “I’m resigning because I have been made to understand that the government must be in absolute agreement regarding Icesave,” Jónasson explained, criticizing the government’s work methods. In his opinion, the matter should be handled by the Althingi parliament, Morgunbladid reports.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir announced on Tuesday that if all ministers of the cabinet are unable to reach an agreement on Icesave by the end of this week, the coalition between the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens is automatically terminated.
According to ruv.is, both members of the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens are dissatisfied with the tight circle in which the Icesave matter has been discussed so far, only between the party leaders: Sigurdardóttir and Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson of the Social Democrats and Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon and Jónasson of the Left-Greens.
The Althingi parliament reconvenes today after a short break and the Icesave debate must be brought to an end during the current parliamentary session as soon as possible, the PM stated. The Social Democrats worry that the dispute of last summer will repeat itself.
After Jónasson’s resignation, the parliamentary groups of both coalition parties met to discuss the Icesave preconditions and the changes requested by British and Dutch authorities with the goal of reaching a conclusion on the matter.
After the meetings, both parties declared support for their party leaders and the parliamentary group of the Left-Greens announced that Sigfússon had their mandate to conclude the Icesave matter according to what the government had decided in their cabinet meeting last night, ruv.is reports.
Álfheidur Ingadóttir of the Left-Greens will replace Jónasson as minister of health and formally be appointed to the office today. She has until now chaired the parliament’s Economic and Tax Committee; it is unclear who will assume her position.
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