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The government has collapsed!

So, PM [notforlong] Geir Haarde announced just after 1 pm that the government coalition has been dissolved. He’s meeting with the President at 4 pm today to ask for the formal discharge of the government.

Apparently the Social Democratic Alliance led by Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir [who has just returned from Sweden where she underwent treatment for a brain tumor] demanded that the SDA take over leadership of the government from the Independence Party. She proposed that Jóhanna Siguðardóttir, currently minister for social affairs and social security and the most popular minister in the cabinet, take over as PM. The SDA, of course, has also been adamant that some serious housecleaning needs to be done at the Central Bank, and my suspicion is that, among other things, they wanted to take over the reins in order to do just that. For some reason, the IP has been completely incapable of moving the troll that is Davíd Oddsson out of the bank. [Writer Guðmundur Andri Thorsson addressing the IP in Fréttablaðið today: Davíð Oddsson is not a mountain. He is not a star in the sky that cannot be removed. He is not the sun – he is not God. He is just a man who cannot cope with the work he has been assigned and is now standing in the way of the resurrection of Iceland. Word!]

Anyway, it looks as though we will have a national government with the involvement of all the political parties, of which there are five, until the elections this spring, and Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is pegged to be PM, which is fantastic news [at least until proven otherwise] [oops, sorry, my cynicism is showing].

What wild and crazy times we live in!

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  • mary January 26, 2009, 3:20 pm

    Hurrah! And the very best of Irish luck to you all.

  • Cassie January 26, 2009, 3:23 pm

    Thank you for the update. This is more news than I’ve gotten from BBC or anywhere else – esp. concerning what might happen next.

  • tara January 26, 2009, 3:29 pm

    What does IP stand for? In power, maybe?

  • Grif January 26, 2009, 3:39 pm

    Congratulations Iceland for making your government listen to the people.

    tara, ‘IP’ stands for the Independence Party. It is the biggest party in Iceland…

  • ino January 26, 2009, 3:43 pm

    congrats on the fall this horrible coalition. i just don’t think that a former stewardess, sorry, air hostess, is the right person for the job. is there really nobody in the economics department of the university who will step up to the plate? or just anybody with more than just knowledge of how to climb the ladder within a political party untill they have to make you pm? has recent history in iceland not proven that lawyers and physio therapists and Philosophers are not the ones you need to help further your economy….

  • Nils Bjartur January 26, 2009, 3:49 pm

    Some good news at last…it is a first step. But don’t let us again loose the final goal out of sight! The final goal must be a REAL change as so often stressed out.
    The SDA is not the solution to the problem, but part of it. They’ve been aprt of this governemtn for a while now and there criticism has been just cone up now-a-days. Too long they sticked with the IP! This move now looks more to me to keep there chances for the up-coming elections. they could have done this for the same reasons end of last eyar already!
    Anyway, not the right day of bein pessimistic…it is a first step and a right one. Now let’s go towards general elections and let’s see what the nation decides! A fair chance it is.

  • Colin January 26, 2009, 4:17 pm

    Wow – what a turn of events. I hope you’ll forgive me for wondering if there’s anyone in the leadership of either the IP or SDA who’s in decent health though.

    It’s hard to not think that the constant protests and pressure had something to do with this – hopefully Icelanders will be able to get a government that might actually do something other than flail around looking for ways to not change, pausing only to pinch the change out from under your collective couch cushions.

  • Mondrian January 26, 2009, 4:18 pm

    I had thought that the current coalition couldn’t stand for much longer, elections in May aside. This is very good news and thanks for the updates!

  • Dumdad January 26, 2009, 4:27 pm

    You (we) live in interesting times. Good luck and I hope something good comes out of this. But don’t put your hopes up too high!

  • Rachael January 26, 2009, 4:35 pm

    First the economy collapses, now the government collapses! Who needs volcanoes when there’s all this political seismic activity??

  • Ulla January 26, 2009, 4:42 pm

    Goodness, I hope this all works out. The IP have had so much control for so long.

  • Skotta January 26, 2009, 4:53 pm
  • Hrefna January 26, 2009, 5:40 pm

    I’ve had “Minn tími mun koma! (“My time will come!”) running through my head all weekend. Jóhanna Siguðardóttir sure seems to have had a crystal ball hidden away somewhere in 1994! 🙂

  • Perturbed of Malvern Wells January 26, 2009, 5:48 pm

    Despite all your problems, the Icelandic people can still feel compassion and generosity for those who are also in difficulties:

    ‘Iceland sends jumpers to help the UK’

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/the_daily_politics/7851365.stm

    The question as to why some British pensioner’s need thermal support from Icelander’s is certainly one for our next general election.

    Best wishes in the difficult weeks and months ahead as you choose a new direction for Iceland.

  • alda January 26, 2009, 5:51 pm

    Yes, thank God we still have woolen jumpers to spare. 🙂

  • Jessica January 26, 2009, 11:41 pm

    The positive: a new government can emerge that may just have the cajones to oust Oddsson and replace him with [perhaps] a person with real skills in economics and/or financial management.

    The negative: political unrest is distracting from the REAL issues (e.g. unemployment, inflation, foreclosures, currency, etc…) Let’s hope the interim government puts off debates about “alcohol sales in grocery stores” for another day and instead focus on the hard stuff!

    I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings ; ‘ )

  • Rozanne January 26, 2009, 11:56 pm

    Well, this is very good news! I’m sure Icelanders are feeling much more empowered than they were this time last week.

  • ReallyEvilCanine January 27, 2009, 12:57 am

    I saw the news earlier this evening and despite the OH NOES headline thought, I bet Alda Kalda is doing the w00t dance. Unfortunately I was busy and couldn’t check the site until now, where I find out that 1) the regular news outlets have their heads up their orifices and 2) I was right. I was also surprised considering Saturday’s news that the current gubmint wouldn’t get hell out before May.

    On the downside, once your politicians get their act together, stuff’s going to get expensive for me again. I have a fiancée who really wants to see Iceland and an upcoming addition to the household who won’t care one way or the other as long as the milk supply isn’t interrupted.

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