First Left to Right Government in Iceland

For the first time in Iceland‘s political history, a left-wing Prime Minister is the head of government. The new three-party alliance, which was announced today, has been anticipated for the last couple of weeks while The Independence Party, The Progressive Party and The Left-Green Movement have been in talks.

The new government took power today when the last government stepped down. The last government, under the guidance of Bjarni Benediktsson, included the Independence Party, The Reform Party and Bright Future. Bright Future broke up the government after it came to light that Sigríður Andersen, the minister of justice, had shared sensitive information with Bjarni Benediktsson about his father, without discussing it with the rest of the cabinet.

Benedikt Sveinsson had written a letter to the ministry of justice attesting to the character of a convicted paedophile who then got legally vindicated.

There is a huge pressure on the newly formed government to do well since the last two government coalitions have broken up. First in 2015 when it came to light the then Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and minister of finance, Bjarni Benediktsson were both in the leaked Panama files.

These are the people forming the government:

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the chairperson of the Left-Green Movement, is the new Prime Minister. She is the first person leading a leftist parliamentarian party to lead a government in Iceland.

Bjarni Benediktsson, the chairperson of the Independence Party, is the new Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. He was the Prime Minister of Iceland and before that minister of finance.

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, the chairperson of the Progressive Party, is the new Minister of Transport and Local Government

Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, a member of the Independence Party, keeps his ministerial seat as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was the Minister of Health in the coalition government between the Independence Party and the Social Democratic Alliance when the financial crash hit in 2008, and the government broke.

Svandís Svavarsdóttir, a member of the Left-Green Movement, is the new Minister of Health. She was the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources in the government that was elected after the financial crash in 2008.

Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, the vice chairperson of the Progressive Party, is the new Education, Science and Culture. She became the Minister of Foreign Affairs for a few months after former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson had to resign after the Panama scandal.

Kristján Þór Júlíusson, a member of the Independence Party, is the new Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture. He was the Minister of Education, Science and Culture in the government that broke up a couple of months ago and the Minister of Health in the government led by Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, not a member of any party, is the new Minister of Environmental and Natural Resources. He is the former head of the Icelandic Environment Association. He is a representative of the Left-Green Movement.

Sigríður Á. Andersen, a member of the Independence Party, keeps her ministerial seat as the Minister of Justice.

Ásmundur Einar Daðason, a member of the Progressive Party, is the new Minister of Welfare. He was one of Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson’s assistants when he was a Prime Minister alongside being a member of parliament.

Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, a member of the Independence Party, keeps her ministerial seat as the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation.