A regular medical examination which I underwent at the National and University Hospital last week revealed a small tumour of the oesophagus. On Tuesday I was informed that a biopsy had indicated that the tumour was malignant. My physicians have advised me to immediately undergo surgery to remove the tumour but as the operation concerned cannot be carried out here in Iceland, it will be carried out abroad around the end of this month or shortly thereafter.
I am optimistic that I will be able to overcome this illness and physicians say the prognosis is good and that I can expect to maintain full working capacity at least in the coming months. On the other hand, it is impossible to exclude the possibility that the situation could take a more negative direction in the longer term.
In view of the uncertainty which unavoidably results from the nature of the affliction with which I have been diagnosed, I have decided not to seek re-election as leader of the Independence Party at its upcoming national congress. I have already informed my colleagues in the parliamentary caucus and in the party’s central committee of this decision and the reasons behind it.
The knowledge that the Independence Party has a large group of highly capable leaders to choose from makes my decision easier. On behalf of my party, I therefore have no fears for the future.
In addition, I would like to announce that the Independence Party caucus desires that national elections be held on Saturday, 9 May, of this year. I have already discussed the above date with the chairman of our coalition partner party and we will discuss the details over the weekend. I emphasise that the government will continue to work determinedly until the elections to carry out the tasks which are most urgent to rescue households and businesses in Iceland. In co-operation with other parties, I will make every effort to see to it that preparations for the elections and the election campaign do not disrupt the economic recovery programme which we are implementing in co-operation with the International Monetary Fund. Major interests are at stake here, as I have repeatedly emphasised strongly.
In view of the fact that, in all likelihood, elections will be held this spring, the central committee of the Independence Party has decided to postpone its national congress, which will now be held 26-29 March this year. At this national congress, the party will draft its election platform and select a new chairman, who will lead the party in the upcoming elections.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs would like to draw your attention to the Icelandic Government Information Centre that contains information regarding the current financial circumstances in Iceland. The website is accessible at http://www.iceland.org/info. The aim of this website is to give a comprehensive view of the events that unfolded during the financial crisis that hit Iceland in the fall of 2008, and the subsequent actions of the Icelandic government.
On the site you can find information about
-The financial crisis and its impact on Iceland
-Timeline of the events as they unfolded in the autumn
-Answers to frequently asked questions about for instance the current financial circumstances, the Icelandic Government’s program with the IMF, foreign exchange and information in regards to the affected banks.
-News and Press releases from the Icelandic governmen