Online Petition Against New PM Sparks Public Debate

bjarni benediktsson finance minister

Approximately 37,000 people have signed a petition indicating their lack of support for Iceland’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson. This petition, which ranks as the eighteenth most signed in the nation’s history according to RÚV, appears to have sparked significant public debate.

Eighteenth most signed petition in Iceland’s history

Over 37,000 people have signed a petition to the effect that Bjarni Benediktsson does not enjoy their support as Prime Minister, a position he recently assumed. As noted in the latest episode of the Iceland New Review podcast, published today, the petition is not a legally binding referendum but an exercise in democratic participation. The growth of signatures has slowed but saw a significant increase yesterday following media coverage.

In a response to the petition on Wednesday, Bjarni Benediktsson observed that Icelanders were free to protest and sign petitions: “It must be considered a part of the normal functioning of democracy in Iceland that not everyone holds the same opinion. Even if a few thousand people sign a petition, or even ten times more vote for another party, that’s just how it is,” Bjarni remarked. He also pointed out that the Independence Party had received the most votes in the last election and that he had entered parliament with the highest number of votes of any MP.

RÚV maintains that this petition ranks eighteenth in terms of the most signed in Iceland’s history. The record is held by a 2016 petition demanding 11% of GDP for healthcare, signed by 87,000 Icelanders. Subsequent notable petitions include a 2008 protest against the UK’s use of anti-terrorism laws against Iceland and a 2013 campaign against relocating Reykjavik Airport, garnering 83,353 and 69,637 signatures respectively.

The petition against the Prime Minister will remain active until April 23.

Critical of the petition

Former Minister Björn Bjarnason – a relation to Bjarni Benediktsson – recently criticised the fact that the website Island.is had been transformed into an official messaging channel for anonymous individuals who “seek to undermine constitutional elections and democratic rules.”

“Media outlets blindly compete to report how diligent people are in signing the petition. If one visits the website, a large number of those signing the petition, which is reported on by the media, appear to be anonymous, as if it were a secret ballot,” Björn recently wrote on his blog.

Brynjar Níelsson, deputy MP from the Independence Party, agreed with Björn, characterising the petition as digital harassment. “There’s a government. There are elections. What’s wrong with people? Why are they doing this? This is as sensible as a petition to make me a spokesperson or host at Eurovision,” Brynjar stated during an interview with the radio programme Bítið yesterday morning.

The rapper Emmsjé Gauti, who was also a guest on Bítið, reacted to Brynjar’s comments by stating that it was only natural for people to express their dissatisfaction in this manner, observing that the petition did not demand Bjarni’s resignation. Gauti caveated his statement by noting that people should, nonetheless, communicate respectfully.

A secure online platform for petitions

As noted on Island.is, individuals can create petitions on the website to which the public can add their names using digital authentication.

“The purpose of these petitions is to provide a secure online platform where people can support causes. Creating a petition involves collecting names and signatures to demonstrate support for specific goals or issues. These petitions must adhere to national laws and the Icelandic constitution, and the content must be presented respectfully and decently, avoiding any defamatory statements,” the website notes.

First cabinet meeting this morning

Bjarni Benediktsson’s new government convened for its first cabinet meeting this morning. The government was introduced on Tuesday, and the official handover of keys took place on Wednesday morning.

Bjarni Sets Government Priorities in First Parliamentary Address

Bjarni Benediktsson icelandic politics

In his first parliamentary address after assuming the office of Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson highlighted the government’s focus on energy development, economic stability through continued inflation reduction, and a sustainable approach to immigration. Bjarni also emphasised the importance of democratic debate, the nation’s enviable living conditions, and the collaborative spirit of its diverse political landscape.

Economic challenges persist

In his first address before parliament after having assumed the office of Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson reviewed some of the main issues that the coalition government intends to focus on for the remainder of the term, Mbl.is reports.

Among the issues discussed by Bjarni was a focus on energy development with a simplified power plant establishment process. “We cannot allow power plant options, which have been classified in the utilisation category in parliament’s framework, to be delayed by bureaucracy to such an extent that no progress is made.”

Despite the decline in inflation, Bjarni acknowledged the challenges, such as high family repayments, continue to persist. “Continued reduction of inflation and thus economic stability for households and the business sector will be our guiding light in all our work,” Bjarni observed.

Properly welcoming those who seek refuge

Addressing immigration, Bjarni stressed the importance of secure borders for sovereignty and the need for a sustainable approach to welcome those eligible for refuge. “Managing the number of people who come here is a precondition for us to properly welcome those who have the right to seek refuge here … specific Icelandic rules should not increase pressure on the borders in such a way that infrastructure fails.”

Bjarni further noted that the legislative proposals of Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir, Minister of Justice, for changes to immigration and police laws, would be finalised at this session.

Bjarni also mentioned ongoing efforts to improve disability benefits and aquaculture, expressing the honour he felt in leading the government and seeking cooperative governance across parties.

“One of the freest democracies in the world”

He then reflected on the essence of democratic debate and compromise, celebrating Iceland’s strong economy, political stability, and rich natural resources as foundations of its enviable global position.

“One doesn’t need to look far beyond our borders to find countries where no compromises, no democratic debate takes place, where only one person decides. I believe few people would want such a reality, and we should all be grateful to live in one of the freest democratic societies in the world, even though the eight political parties that form the parliament here do not always agree on every issue.”

He concluded on a sanguine note: “Our situation as Icelanders is enviable in many ways in the international arena. Despite facing difficult weather and natural challenges … there’s hardly a nation that enjoys better living conditions than we Icelanders. Let’s remember this when we disagree on the way forward.”

 

Voice Distrust in New Prime Minister Through Online Petition

bjarni benediktsson

Over 14,000 people have signed a petition to the effect that Bjarni Benediktsson does not enjoy their support as Prime Minister. Bjarni has countered by stating that the Independence Party received the most votes in the last parliamentary elections.

Signatures added every minute

Bjarni Benediktsson, Chair of the Independence Party, assumed the role of Prime Minister of Iceland yesterday after Katrín Jakobsdóttir resigned from the position to run for president.

Shortly after it was announced that Bjarni would assume leadership, a petition quickly emerged among those who lack trust in Bjarni’s capacity as Prime Minister. The petition has been circulating for just under a day, with dozens of signatures being added every minute, Vísir reports.

“Bjarni Benediktsson enjoys little trust among the public. Just four months ago, a poll found that ‘three out of every four have little trust in the foreign minister according to a new survey.’ Bjarni Benediktsson does not have our support as Prime Minister,” the petition reads.

People have the right to disagree

In an interview with Vísir, Bjarni reacted to the petition by stating that people are free to have their opinions, as Iceland is one of the freest and most prosperous countries in the world.

“People have the right to protest and sign petitions. It must be seen as part of the normal functioning of democracy in Iceland that not everyone holds the same opinion. Even if a few thousand people sign a list, or even ten times more vote for another party, that’s just how it is,” Bjarni remarked. He pointed out that the Independence Party had received the most votes in the last election and that he entered parliament with the highest number of votes of any MP.

“Of course, I’m listening, and I’m keeping an eye on what’s happening in society. But if one spends all their energy chasing down the last voice of disagreement, then that’s all that one is doing,” Bjarni remarked, adding that he intended to use his energy to follow his heart and to do what he had promised to the voters of his party.

Prime Minister to Announce Decision on Presidential Bid Today

Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir is expected to announce her decision on a potential presidential bid today, amid widespread speculation and a government meeting held early this morning. A political scientist has referred to the situation as “unprecedented.”

Expected to announce her decision today

A government meeting began at 8:30 AM in the Umbra building at Skuggasund in downtown Reykjavík, Mbl.is reports. There is much speculation about a possible presidential run by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, and she is expected to announce her decision today.

As noted by Mbl.is, many believe that Katrín will ask to be relieved of her duties for herself and her ministry if she decides to run. The coalition parties will then attempt to form a new government under another leader.

Parliament reconvenes on Monday after the Easter break, and by then, it is expected to be clear whether Katrín will proceed with her candidacy.

An unprecedented situation

“It is clear that this has never happened before in Icelandic politics,” professor of political science Ólafur Þ. Harðarson told RÚV earlier this week. Ólafur believes that a presidential bid by the sitting Prime Minister could cause all sorts of problems in the coalition government.

“Especially in a coalition partnership that has been as fragile as the current one has been for the last two or three years,” Ólafur noted, adding that he believes Katrín would not want to run for President of Iceland unless she has ensured that a peaceful solution is reached for the continuation of the government’s life. Instability in the government is simply not a good starting point for her possible candidacy.

“I believe she will do everything to avoid that, and from what I hear from the leaders of the Independence Party and the Progressive Party, they are very keen on resolving this matter peacefully,” Ólafur continued, highlighting that none of the governing parties wants to go to elections early. Additionally, it would signal disintegration if presidential and parliamentary elections were held simultaneously.

Sixty-eight individuals are currently gathering endorsements for presidential bids. As noted on IR, former mayor of Reykjavík and comedian Jón Gnarr announced that he would be running for president in a social media post earlier this week. Two new candidates have also tossed their hats into the ring: actress Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir and Guðmundur Felix Grétarsson. Political scientist Baldur Þórhallsson has been polling strongly.

Skull Traced to 18th-Century Danish Woman

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Residence of Minister

Human skull fragments, discovered under the floorboards in the attic of the Prime Minister’s Residence in Tjarnargata this fall, have now been analysed by deCODE genetics. Experts announced this Friday that the skull belonged to a Danish woman who most likely lived and died in Iceland in the 18th century, Vísir reports.

The discovery of the skull sparked curiosity, but no criminal activity was ever suspected. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, herself a scholar and author of crime novels, said at the time that finding human remains in such a noteworthy setting should provide intriguing story material.

Brown hair and brown eyes

At yesterday’s press conference at the Residence, however, it was confirmed that no foul play was involved. CEO of deCODE, Kári Stefánsson said that distant relatives of the woman can be found in Denmark, but that Danish authorities did not allow further inquiry into which Danish people she was related to. Geneticists Agnar Helgason and Sunna Ebenesersdóttir introduced the findings and revealed that the woman may have had brown hair and brown eyes. No descendants or relatives of hers exist in Iceland.

Agnar mentioned a theory that the woman’s remains may have originated from nearby Víkurkirkjugarður cemetery. Major construction has taken place in the area throughout the years and human remains have regularly been discovered as a result.

Recent renovations

Renovation work, including enhanced fire protection measures, recently commenced at the Minister’s Residence. Significant modifications were previously carried out in 1980, and additional upgrades were made toward the end of the 20th century. The investment in maintenance work comes as the residence has seen increased use in recent years, particularly for governmental meetings and similar functions.

The minister’s residence in Reykjavík has a storied history, originating as a one-story log house built in 1892 by Norwegian Hans Ellefssen for his whaling station in Önundarfjörður. Sold to Iceland’s first minister, Hannes Hafstein, for a nominal fee, the house was disassembled and moved to Reykjavík in the early 20th century. It served as the official residence for Icelandic prime ministers until the 1940s, with its last occupant being Hermann Jónasson. Over the years, the residence has hosted various dignitaries including David Ben Gurion and Duke Philip of Edinburgh, and has been used for receptions and meetings.

Iceland Abstains from UN Gaza Vote, Causing Tension

Katrín Jakbosdóttir, Bjarni Benediktsson Ríkissjórn Alþingi

Iceland abstained from voting on a ceasefire in Gaza at an emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly last Friday. The decision contradicts Iceland’s foreign policy on Palestine and the policy of Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s party, the Left-Green Movement. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir says she was not consulted on the decision.

Katrín told RÚV that she was not consulted before the vote, adding that the decision to abstain from voting is in opposition to Iceland’s official stance on the conflict. “Iceland’s stance was totally clear before the vote, it was that we support a ceasefire for humanitarian reasons,” Katrín Jakobsdóttir told RÚV. She added that it was also her personal stance and that of her party.

Support for Palestine among Icelandic public

Iceland was the first Western country to officially recognise Palestine’s independence and support for the Palestinian cause is relatively strong among the public in Iceland, in part thanks to the work of the Iceland-Palestine Association, founded in 1987. Many locals in Iceland have expressed disappointment and anger at the decision to abstain from the UN vote on a ceasefire. Several public protests have been held in Iceland in support of a ceasefire since the most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas began.

Divisions within governing coalition

Iceland abstaining from the vote on a ceasefire is yet another example of how divided the parties within Iceland’s governing coalition are, Professor of Political Science Eiríkur Bergmann told RÚV. The governing coalition consists of PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s Left-Green Movement; the Independence Party led by Bjarni Benediktsson, currently Minister for Foreign Affairs; and the Progressive Party, led by Infrastructure Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson.

As Foreign Affairs Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson bears responsibility for the UN vote. Bjarni resigned from the position of Finance Minister earlier this month following criticism of his handling of the sale of state-owned bank Íslandsbanki. Following his resignation, his fellow Independence Party MP Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir took over as Finance Minister, while Bjarni took over her position as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Three governments in Iceland

“This is, of course, a very unusual issue, that there has been such a rift in the government over an issue this serious,” Eiríkur stated. “But, of course, this reflects what we have been seeing for a long time now, that there are actually three governments in the country. Each of the three political parties deals with the affairs of their [ministry], and the Independence Party manages foreign affairs, and it is therefore its policy that determines Iceland’s position in this matter, not the policy of other governing parties.”

PM Jakobsdóttir Receives 2,000 Signatures on Israeli Actions

Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir received 2,000 signatures urging Icelandic authorities to condemn Israeli military actions in Palestine, RÚV reports. While she emphasised the importance of humanitarian laws and humanitarian aid for Palestine, she did not directly commit to the protesters’ demands.

2,000 signatures handed over

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir received approximately 2,000 signatures demanding that Icelandic authorities condemn the actions of the Israeli military in Palestine, RÚV reports. Around 100 people gathered this morning outside the Prime Minister’s residence on Tjarnargata to protest the conflict in Palestine. The government held a meeting there this morning.

Katrín stepped out of the meeting to speak with the protesters, where Sema Erla Serdar, an activist and Chair of the Solaris association, presented her with the signatures collected over two days. Katrín then returned to the meeting, which concluded shortly before 10 AM.

“Not enough has been done”

“It has not been enough; Icelandic authorities have not condemned the war crimes and mass murders by Israeli officials, and we demand that they do. And we will continue to show up here if necessary,” Sema Erla told RÚV after Katrín had returned inside the residence.

When asked whether the PM had made any promises, Sema responded thusly: “She promised to address the issue in the meeting and to continue advocating on this matter. We will see what that means.”

As noted by RÚV, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir did not directly answer whether Icelandic authorities would yield to the demands of the protesters when approached by the media after the meeting. Instead, she emphasised the importance of respecting humanitarian laws.

“We have, of course, recognized Palestine as an independent state,” Katrín remarked. “We have always advocated for a two-state solution. We have supported the recent demand for humanitarian aid to be allowed into the region and have allocated additional funds for humanitarian assistance in Gaza. We always emphasise the importance of international laws being respected – including humanitarian laws.”

New Ministerial Role for Bjarni a Possibility, According to PM

Yesterday, Bjarni Benediktsson announced his resignation from his ministerial post following a formal opinion by the Parliamentary Ombudsman regarding the sale of Íslandsbanki. In an interview with Vísir yesterday, PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated that she supported his decision, emphasised the coalition government’s stability, and dismissed rumours of early elections.

Decision was entirely Bjarni’s

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated that Bjarni Benediktsson’s decision to resign from his ministerial post had been commendable and appropriate, stressing that the decision had been entirely his.

Katrín affirmed the coalition’s stability and refuted suggestions of imminent elections. There is speculation that Benediktsson may take on a different ministerial role. “This is, of course, a significant decision that the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has made, and he thoroughly discussed it at (yesterday morning’s) press conference,” Katrín Jakobsdóttir noted.

A snap press conference

During a press conference yesterday, Bjarni Benediktsson cited the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s critique on the Íslandsbanki sale as his reason for resigning. The Ombudsman highlighted a potential conflict of interest, noting Bjarni’s father was among the buyers when Bjarni approved the sale through the Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI). While Bjarni expressed disagreement with the Ombudsman’s view, he chose to respect it and subsequently announced his resignation.

“I find this decision to be very commendable. I believe that the Minister of Finance, at every stage of this matter, even though he has been criticised, has sought to take responsibility for this action. Perhaps one can say that this responsibility became final today, with this decision,” Katrín observed.

When asked if she felt it was right for Bjarni to resign in this situation, Katrín stated that the decision was entirely Bjarni’s to make. “But I have a deep understanding of this decision and respect it. We, of course, discussed this beforehand, and there were various aspects to consider. But I believe he did the right thing,” Katrín stated, adding that she neither demanded nor wished for Bjarni to step down.

Big tasks ahead

As noted by Vísir, the leaders of the governing parties discussed Bjarni’s resignation at a cabinet meeting yesterday. When asked about their discussions, Katrín replied that the three leaders had simply reviewed the situation. “Given the nature of the matter, it affects the collaboration of these parties when the leader of one party decides to step down from his position.” The government is now facing major tasks, especially in economic matters.

A significant political decision

Katrín told Vísir that she and Bjarni had not discussed his possible resignation in the event that the Ombudsman deemed that the latter had been unqualified to handle the sale: “The Minister of Finance briefed me on the Ombudsman’s stance beforehand. We deliberated on it collegially, examining various angles. Ultimately, the decision was his, and it holds substantial political implications.”

Katrín further emphasised the coalition government’s resilience, asserting that its leadership structure would remain intact despite Benediktsson’s departure. The upcoming days would be spent assessing the current economic landscape. A subsequent cabinet meeting would be held to formalise Bjarni’s resignation.

Responding to queries about a potential government breakdown following Benediktsson’s decision, Jakobsdóttir stated, “No. I’m confident we’re united in our commitment to address these pressing challenges.”

Bjarni to move ministries?

At yesterday’s press conference, Bjarni Benediktsson expressed uncertainty about his future role, whether as a minister, the leader of the Independence Party, or a parliament member. Addressing questions about Bjarni potentially heading another ministry, Katrín Jakobsdóttir emphasized the current focus on the Ministry of Finance.

“Our primary concern is to ensure the Minister of Finance can work effectively and be accountable for the Íslandsbanki sale. While the possibility of Bjarni leading another ministry exists, it hasn’t been a topic of discussion,” Jakobsdóttir clarified.

Vísir postulated that Benediktsson might transition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir potentially taking over Finance. Ólafur Þ. Harðarson, an emeritus professor at the University of Iceland, conveyed to RÚV that such speculations might have merit.

Ministry of Finance up for grabs

Vísir noted that Bjarni Benediktsson isn’t the sole minister under the Ombudsman’s scrutiny. The Ombudsman is currently investigating whether Svandís Svavarsdóttir breached administrative laws by introducing a whaling ban earlier this summer.

When questioned about potential repercussions if the Ombudsman identifies similar lapses in Svavarsdóttir’s actions, Katrín admitted to having heard speculations although no such thing had been discussed at the moment.

“I’ve heard speculations about this today. Of course, the Ombudsman often investigates many ministers and our official transfers. I believe it’s premature to comment on such matters in any related context. These issues can be inherently different, so we should just wait and see.”

Will the Left-Green Movement want the Ministry of Finance?

When asked if Katrín’s party, the Left-Green Movement, was interested in the Ministry of Finance, Katrín replied thusly: “We haven’t discussed the matter based on these premises. In our meeting today with the three [leaders of the governing parties], we primarily discussed the bigger picture, the tasks, and how we can ensure that we come out of this stronger than when we entered,” Katrín observed.

She doesn’t expect elections to be called earlier than scheduled. As noted by Vísir, based on a full electoral term, the next parliamentary elections are set for the fall of 2025. “Nothing has happened that warrants it, at least for now,” Katrín concluded by saying.

Welfare Committee Rejects Request for PM to Appear

refugee protest austurvöllur

The majority of the Welfare Committee has rejected the request for the Prime Minister to be summoned before the committee to discuss the provision of services to asylum seekers, as it does not fall under the Prime Minister’s purview. RÚV reports.

New immigration laws came into effect in July, which, among other things, involve discontinuing services for asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected. Dozens of individuals have received such notifications, and there is a debate about whether the state or local authorities bear responsibility for these individuals.

Read more: Authorities Dispute Over Asylum Seekers in Iceland

The minority in the Welfare Committee has called for an open committee meeting, inviting the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Social Affairs, and the Prime Minister to attend. However, the majority refuses to summon the Prime Minister before the committee, with the committee’s chair, Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, stating that there are no grounds for it, as the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Social Affairs and the Minister of Justice. Members of the Pirate Party have objected to this interpretation, with Pirate MP Arndís Anna K. Gunnarsdóttir pointing out that the Prime Minister has a coordinating role in the government that is relevant to the situation at hand. According to the MP, due to the current disagreement that exists regarding the interpretation of the law, it is crucial to summon the Prime Minister before the committee.

asylum seekers iceland
Protest on Austurvöllur, October 9. Golli.

The Minister of Justice and the Minister of Social Affairs have also discussed recently whether “closed housing facilities,” can be used in the case of rejected asylum applications. Such facilities would restrict the movement of asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected prior to their deportation from the country.

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, stated to RÚV that closed housing facilities cannot solve the problem that has arisen due to people who have received a final denial of international protection: “Regardless of what we may think of closed housing facilities, they are simply not a viable solution because they have no legal basis, and they cannot, of course, address the problem faced by people who have been expelled from the service. It is just a fact that these people have no place to seek protection. I am just ensuring assistance to these people; I took the initiative, and others have not done so.”

Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir, the Minister of Justice, has however stated: “I see no other solution than to have closed housing facilities. If that were the case, we wouldn’t need what the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment is suggesting. Such people need to leave the country, and it’s remarkable that solutions are being proposed for people who are breaking the law.”

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Cabinet to Receive 6% Raise Amid Inflation and Interest Hikes

Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Iceland’s government ministers and top officials are set to receive a 6-6.3% raise from July 1, RÚV reports. Union leaders and opposition MPs have called for the salaries to be frozen to show solidarity with the public, who is facing a cost-of-living crisis. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir says there are no plans to reduce or stop the pay hikes to ministers, which are laid out in legislation.

Food prices in Iceland have risen sharply over the past few months, as the Central Bank has raised interest rates on mortgages and loans, putting many households in a tight spot. Union leaders have called on the government to respond with measures to help low-income families whose finances are strapped.

In light of the approaching salary hikes, the President of Iceland’s Confederation of Labour (ASÍ) has called on the government’s top officials to show responsibility by not accepting higher raises than workers received in the newly-negotiated collective agreements. The highest wage hikes among workers this year amount to ISK 66,000 per month [$475, €442].

“I very much understand the discontent within society because of this,” stated opposition MP Þorhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir, member of the Pirate Party. “Especially because the message from those in power in this country have time and time again been that the public needs to accept poorer conditions and bear the costs due to inflation.”

Cancelling raises would require an amendment bill

Speaker of Alþingi Birgir Ármannsson has stated that legislation would need to be amended in order to stop or reduce the salary hikes. With Parliament set to recess for summer vacation on June 9, Birgir says it would be possible to amend the law, but only if there were broad agreement on the issue. No amendment bill has been introduced at this time.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has stated there are no plans to cancel or reduce the raises and called the current legislation on raises for government officials an improvement from the previous arrangement. “I think that the legislation we have, which is based on ideas developed in a working group under my leadership at that time, I think it’s a good system,” Katrín told RÚV. “This system is transparent and it guarantees that we do not lead salary development, but follow the salary development of government employees. And it’s completely predictable, too, which it was not with the old system with the old wage council.”

Those who are set to receive a raise on July 1 according to the current legislation are Iceland’s President, government ministers, ministry secretaries, judges, public prosecutors, police commissioners, the state mediator, the governor of the Central Bank of Iceland, and members of parliament.

According to the legislation, the current salary of Iceland’s President is ISK 2,985,000 [$21,450, €20,000] per month. Members of Parliament receive a monthly salary of ISK 1,101,194 [$7,910, €7,375]. As Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir currently receives a monthly salary of ISK 2,021,825 [$14,530, €13,540]. Recent figures from Statistics Iceland stated that the median income in the lowest income quintile was ISK 343,000 per month [$2,460, €2,300].