Geir Haarde this afternoon spoke to journalists explaining that the government coalition between his Independence Party and the Social Democrats is now over. He will officially inform President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of the situation at 16.00 this afternoon at the President’s Bessastadir residence.
In his speech, Haarde explained that, unfortunately, the two parties had not been able to come to an agreement. A large part of the problem was, apparently, the Independence Party’s refusal to give the post of Prime Minister over to the Social Democrats. He defended his party’s point-of-view, saying that the smaller of the governing parties cannot be allowed to hold the office of Prime Minister in a cabinet that is already made up of an equal number of both parties’ ministers.
Haarde said that the Social Democrats have been very difficult to work with recently; but that his relationship with their leader, Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, has remained strong.
Haarde stated that his preferred option now would be for the country to be governed by a unity coalition of all (or nearly all) political parties until the general election on 9th May.
Although he still feels next winter would have been the best time for elections, the most important thing now is not to allow the entire political system to become paralysed for the next three months.