After the Minister of Justice’s immigration bill was approved Wednesday, substitute MP and former executive director of the Left-Green Movement, Daníel E. Arnarsson resigned from the party. He does not intend to take a seat in parliament again even if he were to be called in.
Controversial immigration bill passes
Yesterday, Daníel E. Arnarsson, the executive director of the National Queer Association of Iceland and substitute MP, took to Facebook to announce his resignation from the Left-Green Movement. The decision was made in light of his party’s support for Justice Minister Jón Gunnarsson’s immigration bill, which was approved by a parliamentary majority on Wednesday.
With the exception of Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, who were both absent, all members of the Left-Green Party voted in favor of the bill; numerous amendments were proposed, but none were accepted.
“Last night, the Minister of Justice’s immigration bill was approved, a bill that many human rights and aid organisations have fought against, as it restricts the rights of one of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in our society: people seeking international protection. It is not without reason that the bill met with such strong opposition,” Daníel wrote.
No politics without responsibility
In his statement, Daníel reflected on his campaign for the primary election of the Left-Green Movement in 2021, during which he advocated for a more compassionate stance on immigration. “One of my key campaign pledges was to prioritize a more humane approach to immigration, and I was fortunate enough to garner the support of many like-minded individuals who shared this conviction,” he shared. “For this unwavering support, I will be forever grateful.”
He added that he had resigned from the party only a few minutes after the bill was passed: “There is no politics without responsibility, and I find myself grappling with this responsibility at present. Despite my efforts to impede its progression, the passage of this bill was ultimately unavoidable. As such, I must take ownership of a certain level of accountability. As soon as the Left-Green Party members voted in favor of the bill, I made the decision to step down from the movement. My resignation was, however, not entirely motivated by this sense of disillusionment.”
As noted in his post, Daníel devoted seventeen years to the Left-Green Movement, which he views not simply as a political organization but as a family – the people who raised him: “This is why my actions weigh heavily upon me. I hold a deep affection for the members of the Left-Greens, but I am unable to align myself with a movement that condones the curtailment of fundamental rights for one of society’s most vulnerable groups.”
Finally, Daníel stated that even though he was a democratically-elected substitute MP for the party, he did not intend to take a seat in parliament if called in again; instead, he would refer to the next person on the party’s list in his constituency.
As noted by Vísir, Daníel took third place on the list of the Left Greens in the southern district of the Reykjavík constituency for the 2021 elections. Two of those on the Left Green’s list – Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir and Orri Páli Jóhannsson – were awarded seats in Parliament.
Another Left-Green member resigns
Yesterday, it was also reported that Elva Hrönn Hjartardóttir, a former member of the board of the Left-Green Movement, and vice chair in Reykjavík, had resigned from the party. She stated that she refused to be identified with a movement that “accepted the human-rights violations entailed in the newly-approved immigration bill”
This article was updated at 08:48 AM