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Opening ceremony
Photo: Golli.

Parliament Reconvenes Following Lengthy Hiatus

Parliament reconvened in an opening ceremony this afternoon. The first item on the agenda was the election of members to the Credentials Committee.

Fewer present than usual

Following a lengthy hiatus, which began in early July, Parliament reconvened this afternoon. The opening of Parliament started at 1.30 pm with service at the Reykavík Cathedral. Only a few guests were invited to attend in light of this most infectious wave of the pandemic (204 new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed yesterday).

Following the service, the President of Iceland, the Bishop of Iceland, the Speaker of Alþingi, government ministers, and MPs processed to the Parliament House.

The longest-serving MP, Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, Chairman of the Reform Party, directed the first legislative session and gave a speech commemorating the life and career of former MP and Minister Jón Sigurðsson, who passed away in September of this year.

President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson also gave a speech before Parliament in which, among other things, he discussed society’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Guðni stated that “extremism and exaggeration often accompany the free exchange of ideas but that the Icelanders had been so fortunate as to show solidarity against a common threat.” The President added that the freedom to infect others was a “perversion of rights.”

Likely that the recount will stand

Parliament’s first order of business was the election of a Credentials Committee, which will succeed the Preparatory Credentials Committee. The committee has spent the past few weeks investigating election procedures in the northwest constituency, where a recount saw the reshuffling of parliamentary seats following the election on September 25.

Parliament adjourned and will not convene again until Thursday. On that day, the Credentials Committee is expected to submit its proposals to a vote. Birgir Ármansson, Director of the Credentials Committee, told RÚV today that he expects a majority of MPs to vote to confirm the recount in the northwest constituency and thereby confirm the credentials of all 63 members of Parliament.

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