Icelandic parliament in fighting mood before summer break

The Icelandic Althingi parliament is coming up to its summer break and MPs have been winding up with some pretty heated and personal debates.

The last days of the parliamentary session are nicknamed the ‘kitchen table days’ because of the wide variety of different topics under discussion. The days are usually long and lawmaking quick.

Yesterday’s discussions saw the leader of the opposition Independence Party say how sad he feels it is in a country with so much to offer, that the citizens have to drag their government along behind them kicking and screaming. Progressive Party leader Sigmundur david Gunnlaugsson added that he sees the junior government partner, the Left Green Movement, as the whipping boy to the bigger Social Democrats — going along with what they say just for the chance to keep hold of a few ministries and to maintain a platform for conducting their own political and social experiments.

The Left Green leader and finance minister Steingrimur J. Sigfusson retorted that there is a whole sector of society hell-bent on tearing down things that are going well. “It is usually old, infirm fuddy-duddies — former- this and former-that who talk in this way,” Sigfusson said. “We should not dwell on their words this summer. We need positivity and grit.”

The Social Democrats’ parliamentary chair, Thorunn Sveinbjarnadottir told Althingi that the government of Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has in fact worked well and in accordance with the two parties’ declaration of co-operation.

The Prime Minister said that few governments have ever come to power at more challenging times and that to say the government is stuck in the past and that things are not improving for workers and householders is simply untrue.

Meanwhile, over 100 affiliates of the Householders’ Union gathered outside Althingi to protest perceived government inaction to help them. They were banging pots and pans reminiscent of the so-called Kitchenware Revolution which swept the current government to power in April 2009.