Iceland’s parliament, Althingi, has reconvened today after its summer break. Over the next two weeks MPs will try to clear all business left over from the summer. Following that, all unfinished business will be discarded and Althingi will start its autumn term with a clean slate.
MPs were welcomed back to work by a silent protest outside parliament, where protesters had erected a large number of black crosses, making Austurvollur square look like a particularly creepy graveyard. The demonstrators are protesting what they describe as the still-worsening financial position of families and households in Iceland.
Inside Althingi House, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir gave her opening address to MPs where she went over her government’s achievements so far.
She said that the country has succeeded in beginning to rise again and is working its way out of trouble, RUV reported. Sigurdardottir believes the government has made great strides on the economy and unemployment, under very difficult circumstances. She insists the future for Iceland is bright.
Bjarni Benediktsson, leader of the opposition Independence Party, disagreed; saying that the government is completely out of touch with its citizens. Leader of the Progressive Party, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said that public patience with the unpopular government is at breaking point.
Opposition leaders are calling for prompt elections, saying the country needs a more competent and new approach; while the government argues that nobody would do a better job and that the opposition has become expert at turning black into white and refusing to acknowledge all the good work which the current government has done.
The debate continues.