So Prez Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson summoned Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, head of the SDs, and Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, head of the LGs, to a meeting this morning, in which he entrusted them with the task of forming an interim minority government with the support of the Progressive Party. According to the president there is a possibility of one or two individuals from outside parliament taking a seat in the new government.
Ingibjörg Sólrún told mbl.is that she and Steingrímur would now start work on putting together a strong government that could be running the country by next weekend.
According to Fréttablaðið this morning there seems to be unanimous agreement for Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, minister of social affairs and social security, to head up the government. All the parties involved state that their primary emphasis will be on measures to help Icelandic families and households. The Progressive Party has also stipulated that it will support the new minority on the condition that the Central Bank’s governors and board are dismissed and replaced with new and able individuals.
~ A few people have wondered about the mood in this country since yesterday. I would say that the prevailing mood is one of apprehension – not of pure jubilation, as one might expect. Most people are wary – even though many MANY of us are hugely relieved to be rid of the Independence Party, it still remains to be seen what the others can and will do. For me, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is an unwritten page in terms of being an interim PM. There have been a few snide comments on this site and elsewhere about her CV, her former job as a “stewardess” and so on, which I think is completely unfair. She is a powerful politician, a clear-thinking and righteous individual who has shown that she gets things done. Her current popularity among the Icelandic population does not spring from nowhere – throughout the years she has demonstrated a rare integrity in her political work and since the bank collapse she is the only minister who has seemed to be getting anything done – working on behalf of the “little people”.
At any rate, I expect Davíd Oddsson and his clan in the Central Bank are clearing out their desks as we speak. My preferred candidate to head the Central Bank: Thorvaldur Gylfason. Fingers crossed.
IN OTHER NEWS
I just wanted to quickly draw attention, for those English-speakers living in Iceland [and Icelanders too, obviously], to a lecture today at 5 pm given by senior BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan entitled “The Power of the Media in Times of Change”. It is the inaugural event of a new Icelandic branch of an association called the English Speaking Union, the purpose of which is to “create international understanding and friendship through the use of the English language”. [The ESU has operated internationally since 1918.] The lecture, which is FREE, is held at the Bratti Lecture Theatre, School of Education, University of Iceland [it’s the old Kennaraháskóli, i.e. not on the actual U of I campus] and the entrance is from Hátegsvegur. There will be drinks and refreshments afterwards. I’ll be there, so if you do show up, come over and say hi.
Colder today than it has been recently. There is a thin layer of snow on the ground, which is delightful because it brightens everything and God knows we need that! Right now 1°C [34F], sunrise was at 10.22, sunset due for 4.59.