Reykjavík Majority Coalition Terminated for Third Time Skip to content

Reykjavík Majority Coalition Terminated for Third Time

The Independence Party-Liberal Party majority coalition in Reykjavík City Council came to an end last night when leader of the Independence Party Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir and leader of the Progressive Party Óskar Bergsson announced their cooperation.

Their decision also put an end to Ólafur F. Magnússon’s 203-day career as Mayor of Reykjavík. Kristjánsdóttir will be the capital’s next mayor, the fourth mayor to serve in this term, which began in 2006, and Bergsson will be chairman of the city council, Morgunbladid reports.

“I think it was the only possible way. Absolutely the only possible way,” Kristjánsdóttir told reporters in Reykjavík City Hall after her meeting with Bergsson last night. At the meeting they signed a declaration on behalf of council members of the Independence Party and Progressive Party on a new majority coalition in the city.

An agenda between the two parties has not yet been completed, but Kristjánsdóttir said that it will mostly be based on the original agenda created by the Independence Party and Progressive Party in 2006.

On Thursday next week the new coalition majority will present their agenda, reveal how projects will be divided between the two parties and who will serve which post and be on which committee.

The two parties will also announce a solution to the Reykjavík Energy Invest (REI) debate, which was the reason the original Independence Party-Progressive Party coalition split in the fall of 2007.

Both Kristjánsdóttir and Bergsson said they were optimistic about their cooperation, that they knew each other well and were used to working together. They said they were confident that this time, the majority coalition in Reykjavík City Council would last for the remainder of the term, which ends in 2010. Their slogan is “Carry on.”

Under normal circumstances majority coalitions are forged only after elections and then they serve for a full term of four years at a time.

Bergsson’s substitute in the city council Marsibil Saemundardóttir does not support the majority coalition between the Independence Party and Progressive Party, as she announced to Bergsson before he met with Kristjánsdóttir yesterday, Fréttabladid reports.

“I have to stand by my conviction. I’m not interested in disturbing things for the Progressive Party or Óskar [Bergsson], but I don’t have any faith in this coalition. If I were to support it I would be accepting the behavior of the Independence Party during this term and the politics they have practiced. I just can’t accept that,” Saemundardóttir said.

In theory, Saemundardóttir could collapse the new majority if Bergsson were for some reason unable to tend to is duty, due to illness, for example. But Saemundardóttir said she is not an opportunist and wishes the new coalition well.

Saemundardóttir is going to continue to work as a substitute in the city council, she said, but considering the situation she is not certain whether she will continue working for the Progressive Party.

With the new Independence Party-Progressive Party coalition the farce in Reykjavík City has made a full circle; the Independence Party originally forged an alliance with Björn Ingi Hrafnsson of the Progressive Party after the elections in 2006.

The Independence Party almost had a full majority so they only needed one other person from another party to forge a ruling coalition in Reykjavík City Council.

In fall 2007 that coalition came to an abrupt end after 485 days when Hrafnsson announced that he could no longer work with the Independence Party because of the debate surrounding REI.

Hrafnsson then forged a coalition with Margrét Sverrisdóttir of the Liberal Party and Independent Councilpersons (Magnússon was on sick leave at the time), the Left-Greens and the Social Democrats with Dagur B. Eggertsson of the Social Democrats as mayor.

After only 103 days, in January 2008, the Independence Party in alliance with Magnússon collapsed the multi-party coalition and announced that Magnússon would be mayor for one year, after which period Vilhjálmur Th. Vilhjálmsson of the Independence Party, the original mayor of the term, would replace him and become Mayor of Reykjavík again.

Later the Independence Party announced that Kristjánsdóttir would be their new leader in the city and their mayoral candidate.

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