Independent Icelandic MP joins Left Greens

Icelandic MP Thrainn Bertelsson yesterday joined the ranks of the Left Green Movement – the smaller of the country’s two coalition parties in government.

It is not possible for independent candidates to stand for election in Iceland, but Bertelsson was elected for the Citizens’ Movement and subsequently left the party, thus becoming an independent Member of Parliament. As a non-government member, he was considered an opposition MP.

Thrainn Bertelsson’s decision comes as a shot in the arm to the government, which sees its majority in parliament strengthened. According to Birgir Gudmundsson, University of Akureyri political scientist, the move will also strengthen the government’s EU accession application, as Bertelsson is considered a Pro-European by Left Green standards.

RUV reports Gudmundsson as saying the new arrival undoubtedly strengthens the government; but adds that a larger majority also increases the risk of conflict. Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir may not find it any easier to “herd the cats” – as she once described her Left Green party colleagues.

The Left Green Movement now has 15 members in the Althingi parliament.

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