Independence Party Chair Reelected Skip to content

Independence Party Chair Reelected

Bjarni Benediktsson, chairman of the conservative Independence Party, the largest opposition party and the largest political party in Iceland, was reelected at the party’s general meeting yesterday with 55 percent of votes.

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Bjarni Benediktsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“I am incredibly grateful to you all for this great and important support which I have enjoyed to continue to lead the biggest, strongest and most significant political power in Iceland,” Bjarni said after the results were announced, Morgunblaðið reports.

His opponent, former Mayor of Reykjavík Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, received 45 percent of the votes. There were 1,323 votes in total with ten ballots being either blank or invalid, ruv.is reports.

In opinion polls conducted before the general meeting, it appeared that Hanna Birna enjoyed more support than Bjarni.

The party’s sitting vice chair Ólöf Nordal was reelected to her position over Rev. Halldór Gunnarsson who ran against her. She received 941 or 80 percent of votes while Halldór received nine percent.

Hanna Birna, who did not run for the position but all general assembly representatives are automatically candidates, received seven percent of votes.

Ólöf told ruv.is that she is very touched by the results.

Approximately 1,600 members of the Independence Party from across the country participated in the Independence Party General meeting, which ran from November 17 to 20.

Attendees also voted on how to progress in the affairs of the European Union; the party’s leadership is of the opinion that Iceland’s membership application should be withdrawn, while many of the party’s members would like for accession talks to continue.

Attendees first rejected two suggestions from the party’s anti-EU arm that on the one hand, the application be withdrawn, and on the other that accession talks be terminated.

Finally a compromise was accepted, that accession talks should be paused and not resumed until after a national referendum.

Political science professor Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson told Fréttablaðið that the general meeting’s resolution does not suffice in reconciling conflicting groups within the party. “Those who favor the EU within the party can hardly be satisfied with this conclusion.”

Bjarni responded that he senses general content with the resolution. “The proposal was introduced by those who represented different views in European affairs as a compromise. I consider that people returned united from the meeting in this regard.”

Click here to read more about Hanna Birna challenging Bjarni for his position and here to read more about Iceland and the EU.

ESA

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