PM of Iceland Criticizes President in Keynote Speech Skip to content

PM of Iceland Criticizes President in Keynote Speech

Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said in her keynote speech at the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, yesterday that according to the country’s constitution, the president should not promote other political policies than those set by the government.


Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson criticized the government in an interview on public broadcaster RÚV and other media outlets last month for having agreed to the terms of the British and Dutch governments in regard to Icesave, which sparked anger among cabinet ministers.

Sigurdardóttir declared that she would speak with the president about the matter and, according to Fréttabladid, that meeting has now taken place.

In her speech yesterday, the PM pointed out that the president is voted by the entire nation and as such he is a symbol of unification. The president must be above the daily arguments of politics, Sigurdardóttir stated.

The PM also mentioned the draft for a new constitution which will be discussed by the parliament this winter. She said people would have to reach a joint conclusion by the end of that process, respecting the viewpoints of each other.

Sigurdardóttir also said it is important not to let the president’s comments spoil the good will for solidarity and fairness which had reigned at the Constitutional Council when the draft was made, reports.

Traditionally, the president of Iceland is not supposed to be a political figure. At parliament yesterday, Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir criticized him for having spoken as a politician during the opening session of Althingi on Saturday.

Instead of calling for solidarity, Grímsson spoke as a politician where parliamentarians were unable to answer him on equal ground but rather sat as an obedient group of pupils while he reprimanded them, Svavarsdóttir remarked.

Click here to read more about the president’s comments on Icesave and the reactions to them and here to read about the protests that took place outside the parliament while the PM was giving her keynote speech.


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