Althingi, Iceland’s parliament, opened yesterday for the first time after the general elections on May 12. President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson gave the opening speech and Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde then took the chair.
Haarde said in his speech that the main purpose of politics is to improve the living conditions for the public, to create a green and family-friendly environment, and a business environment where competition can thrive, Fréttabladid reports.
The prime minister said the government’s primary goal for Iceland is “to continue to rank among the nations in the world that have the best living conditions.”
Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir said Iceland should play an important role on the international stage and be a leader in environmental issues. Gísladóttir also said she would fight for equality.
Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, leader of the Left Greens (Vinstri graenir), the largest opposition party, said his party had been ready to create a socially and environmentally oriented governmental administration with the Social Democrats (Samfylkingin), but that the Social Democrats had “lost their nerves” shortly before the elections and made friends with the conservative Independence Party (Sjálfstaedisflokkurinn).
Leader of the Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn) Gudni Ágústsson said the government had not realized how grave Iceland’s economic problem is: “An administration that does not dare to tackle the problem in its first days in government will not begin well.”
Leader of the Liberal Party (Frjálslyndi flokkurinn) Gudjón Arnar Magnússon criticized the fishing quota system, which he said had sealed the fate of one fishing village after another like Bolungarvík and Flateyri.
Click here to read about the new coalition government in Iceland.