World

Iceland Parliament Rejects Motion of No Confidence in Government

Two-thirds of voters do not trust the new Icelandic government sworn in April 8, according to an opinion poll.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson listens to the media in Reykjavik, Iceland, in this May 22, 2013 file photo. Credit: Reuters/Sigtryggur Johannsson/Files

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson listens to the media in Reykjavik, Iceland, in this May 22, 2013 file photo. Credit: Reuters/Sigtryggur Johannsson/Files

Reykjavik: Iceland‘s parliament rejected an opposition motion of no confidence in the government on Friday, April 8, after the prime minister resigned and early elections were announced.

Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson stepped down as prime minister on April 5 after documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm linked him to an offshore company that held millions of dollars in debt from failed Icelandic banks.

The centre-right coalition named Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson as the new prime minister and called for early elections to be held in the autumn.

Friday’s vote was divided into two questions. In a motion of confidence in the new government, 38 members of parliament (MPs) voted against and 25 for it.

In a vote for the dissolution of parliament and new elections to be held as early as possible, 37 MPs voted no and 26 voted yes.

One MP from junior coalition partner the Independence Party voted for new elections.

Johannsson told Reuters the government needed time to finish important tasks before elections, most importantly the ending of capital controls introduced to rescue the economy from the 2008 financial crisis.

“We have very important projects ahead,” he said after the vote.

“There is a lot of work in society to build up trust in society again. That will not happen in one day.”

Katrin Juliusdottir, vice chair of the opposition Social Democrats, said she believed a wave of popular protest would continue and distrust would linger until there was a date for the elections.

The current government were not the only people able to do the job, she said.

Polls show the anti-establishment Pirate Party would win an election if held it were to be held today. Protests have continued, with demonstrators gathering on Friday to demand immediate elections and the government‘s resignation.

Party leader Birgitta Jonsdottir told Reuters on Thursday her party belonged to the global movement for change that includes US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Greece’s left-wing Syriza party.

Two-thirds of voters do not trust the new Icelandic government sworn in April 8, according to an opinion poll.

(Reuters)