Change at the helm of Iceland’s Ministry for Health took place at Bessasstadir, the Presidential residence, yesterday. Alfheidur Ingadottir is now Minister for Health and said that the budget cuts to the health service are very difficult, but that everybody will work to keep the level of healthcare high.
The ceremony at Bessasstadir went ahead according to tradition, RUV reports; with each minister arriving one after the other in ministerial cars – and the departing health minister, Ogmundur Jonasson arriving in his own car. Yesterday’s cabinet meeting marked the end of his eight months in the job.
Ingadottir is a 58 year-old biologist and has been an MP since 2007. She has, however, been politically active for many years with the defunct People’s Alliance, and the Reykjavik List and now with the Left Green Movement.
The Leader of the Left Greens, Steingrimur J. Sigfusson first offered the job to Gudfridur Lilja Gretarsdottir, who refused the post on the grounds that her opinion on Icesave does not differ from Jonasson’s, making it impossible for her to replace him in Cabinet.
This is now the second time in Icelandic history that the gender balance in Cabinet is equal. There were also an equal number of men and women in the temporary government between February and May this year.