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Breaking news: Elections called, PM seriously ill

It’s just been announced that elections have been called for May 9th.

It’s also been announced that our Prime Minister will not be seeking re-election as he has been diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the esophagus.

I think we’re all kind of stunned.

More anon.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Chris January 23, 2009, 1:29 pm

    I can understand your feelings. This is the complete opposite, what i looked yesterday.

  • ino January 23, 2009, 1:30 pm

    wow…………… just like that…….

  • Schneelocke January 23, 2009, 1:34 pm

    Makes you wonder whether he would’ve sought reelection otherwise…

    Of course, I still hope he’ll recover; nobody deserves *that*. But I’m also happy for you that there’ll be elections after all now.

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson January 23, 2009, 1:36 pm

    Alda, I know it may sound cold blooded but don´t you think it is a little too convenient?

  • Michelle in NZ January 23, 2009, 1:41 pm

    Dear Alda,
    I ‘ve just read the exact same news on BBC News. Can understand your sense of shock. Hope the PM has good cancer treatment, And sincerely hope elections happen for you all.

    Oh my goodness, life does throw up such shocks and surprises. Hope things improve for all in Iceland, and you are soon referring to your homeland as Niceland again.

    What ever he may or may not have done, I also send healing wishes to your current PM – my maternal grandmother, my Nana, developed the same type of cancer. It only became apparent after Nana had joint replacement surgery on her right knee in early 1981. My dear Mother spent many months of that year away looking after her dear Mother. I was 16.

    I hope for peaceful positive change in and for your Niceland, and healing for the outgoing PM.

    And safe happy times for your dear self, your family and friends.

    Such hope for Iceland, yet tinged with sadness on a personal level.

    Care and huggles, from Michelle in New Zealand and my currently snoring rescue cat, my darling Zebbycat.

  • Michelle in NZ January 23, 2009, 1:51 pm

    Postscript – My Nana, Mavis Ellen Elizabeth Dickson, (nee Smith), died in the November of 1981. What ever your PM has or hasn’t done (whichever way may have been damaging), cancer of the oesophagus is very unpleasant.

    Roll on full elections, soon, for Iceland. Sincere healing wishes to your out going PM.

    Michele in New Zealand, once again.

  • wally January 23, 2009, 2:02 pm

    I think it is disgusting that he is using his cancer as the excuse for stepping down. It is sad that he has cancer but it seems to me that he is hiding behind his affliction to still shamefully avoid taking responsibility for his nepotistic actions.
    He should step down now, not wait till May 9.
    But apart from that, power to the people!!! We did it!!

  • PhilippeP January 23, 2009, 2:15 pm

    Hey , it’s on my birthday 🙂

  • Marc January 23, 2009, 2:18 pm

    Why the elections so late? Surely that can be organised within a couple of weeks? Or does the government think that not having a PM for a while is an advantage?

  • Vikingisson January 23, 2009, 2:44 pm

    Sorry about the cancer but it is irrelevant to the situation and should have no role in setting a proper path for the future of a country. it is government of the people, not of a person. There are relatives and loved ones to deal with his personal kreppa. kreppa happens.

    But wow, elections called finally. I might have to read up on it. This should not stall the discussions of a recovery plan. Keep up the momentum and hopefully it will not require an ugly escalation that has been apparent recently.

    weather over here: the brutal cold has finally broke, we’re now enjoying a more normal temp of ~-5C for a high. Still lots of snow.

  • Rachael January 23, 2009, 2:46 pm

    Wow. Just… wow. I didn’t see that coming.

  • Ljósmynd DE January 23, 2009, 2:48 pm

    This is sad, but did the PM know anything about his health conditions before, e.g. two days ago? It might have averted some damage, if he had told then.

    And now you are stuck with two seriously ill coalition party leaders and more than 3 months to go till election day and still no resignation.

  • Andrew January 23, 2009, 2:54 pm

    It’s very sad that he has cancer but why doesn’t he retire now? Why wait until May?

    Why do you have to wait 3 1/2 months for the election? In Britain it’s only about a month between the announcement and the election.

  • James January 23, 2009, 3:22 pm

    Big news… Perhaps the protestors will now move from the parliament building to the Central Bank building, where Oddsson is still sitting comfortably…

  • Julian Meteor January 23, 2009, 3:52 pm

    I hope he doesn’t die 🙁

  • Mondrian January 23, 2009, 4:07 pm

    Best wishes for a quick recovery.

    The late election date is very unusual and I wonder what the rationale is. Nevertheless, elections this year were needed, period, and the debates about where Iceland should go next politically will hopefully produce useful ideas.

  • mary January 23, 2009, 4:18 pm

    And who are going to stand for election? Will it be all the old crowd or will a bright young gang go for it?

  • hildigunnur January 23, 2009, 4:38 pm

    We will have new parties, that’s for sure, the thing I’m afraid of is that there might be too many up, which will scare people into voting for the old parties again…

  • Andrew January 23, 2009, 4:38 pm

    Any sign of Oddsson going?

  • James January 23, 2009, 4:43 pm

    “In Britain it’s only about a month between the announcement and the election.”
    And in Britain it’s only a few hours between the election result and the new government taking office, but that takes several months in America!

  • alda January 23, 2009, 6:47 pm

    Oops – a friend just corrected me … elections HAVEN’T been called, just the IP has declared its WISH to hold elections on May 9.

    Jumped the gun. Freudian slip, surely. 🙂

  • JoeInVegas January 23, 2009, 6:50 pm

    Wow, is it due to all off the protests, or his illness? Doesn’t matter too much, but I was wondering if they listen to the people at all.

  • Ljósmynd DE January 23, 2009, 6:51 pm

    I can´t help but it sounds much like a pretence providing the PM with the comfort of a victim role.

    I have read that the minister of education and culture will stand in for him while he is away for medical treatment. I didn’t hear a lot of convincing statements of her in the last days. Isn’t she married to some Kaupþing manager? Certainly not an indication that the investigations into the banking crash will be enforced.

  • Perturbed of Malvern Wells January 23, 2009, 6:52 pm

    I wish Geir Haarde every success in his battle against illness. It seems appropriate to disclose this so that there is no confusion about potential candidates, and any rumours about his health might afffect your country’s ability to manage it’s current situation. Surely, a delay of a few months is advisable so new alliances or even parties have the time to educate, agitate, organise?

    Iceland was the first country into this awful abyss, but it doesn’t look like it will be the last. People’s interest in your collective situation is not like what we British call ‘rubber-necking’ after a car accident. The level of fear in Britain and Ireland seems to be rising every day, so people look to Iceland to see how you are coping with something we, plausibly, may have to deal with at a later stage.

    Hoping ‘the truth’ about the banking collapse comes to the surface during the election campaign. Good luck to you all in shaping your collective future.

  • maja January 23, 2009, 10:38 pm

    Wow that is quite shocking about the cancer.

    You wouldn’t want elections held too early, because you want the new people to have some time to organise themselves beforehand.

    Isn’t life just one damn thing after another!

  • James January 23, 2009, 11:24 pm

    Well, even the Associated Press issued a headline saying Haarde “calls national elections” (instead of “calls for national elections”…):

  • skugga January 24, 2009, 2:30 pm

    From german newspaper ‘Frankfurter Rundschau’:

    Analyse: Politische Kernschmelze

  • Dave January 25, 2009, 5:20 am

    I have Barrett esophagus, which is a precancerous condition of the esophagus. So, I’ve looked into this stuff in detail. If your Prime Minister has a malignant tumor of the esophagus, chances are that he will die from it, whatever treatment he receives. Peace upon him and his family.