MPs are still trying to reach conclusions on matters that the government parties are eager to complete before the upcoming elections on April 25. Never before has Iceland’s Althingi parliament operated so close to the election date.
Uncertainty surrounds the date on which parliament will be dismissed and when MPs can start concentrating on their campaigns. Party group chairman for the Social Democrats Lúdvík Bergvinsson told Fréttabladid that parliament is likely to reconvene after Easter.
Althingi, Iceland’s parliament. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
There are currently only 18 days until the elections and if parliament reconvenes on April 14, there will only be 11 days to go. The shortest period between the dismissal of parliament and elections until now was 31 days in 1991.
The controversial bill on changes to the constitution is causing the delay. At parliament yesterday, MPs for the Independence Party repeatedly criticized the bill in their speeches.
They alone, along with MP Kristinn H. Gunnarsson, who is not associated with any political party, are against the bill and would like other mattes to be completed before discussions on changes to the constitution continue, arguing that such an important matter shouldn’t be rushed.
MPs of other parties disagree and find it important that the matter is completed before the elections.
A proposal submitted by vice-chairperson of the Independence Party Thorgerdur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir on prioritizing discussions on the aluminum smelter in Helguvík over discussions on changes to the constitution was rejected in a meeting between party group chairmen.
Yesterday afternoon the Independence Party MPs suggested a break from the parliamentary session so that MPs could watch the stump speeches from Ísafjördur in the West Fjords on national broadcaster RÚV.
Mördur Árnason, alternative MP for the Independence Party, responded that he had never heard such a ridiculous suggestion before. “Let’s stop all this silliness, my fellow MPs.”
Party group chairmen of parties other than the Independence Party accuse the Independence Party of keeping the parliament hostage by repeating the same discussion over and over again.
The Independence Party MPs, on the other hand, claim that the government parties and their supporters are preventing matters of national interest from being discussed by not budging on wanting to complete the discussions on the changes to the constitution first.
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