No frills start for Iceland parliament autumn

The opening of the new session of the Icelandic parliament will be unusually workaday; as money saving ideas curtail the pomp and ceremony.

Althingi will be formally reconvened at 10.30 this Saturday — a full three hours earlier than usual and without a police force salute and vigil by the usual twenty-or-so officers in their white and black ceremonial uniforms with gold trim.

According to Althingi office manager Helgi Bernodusson, the police view security as their primary objective at the opening of parliament and will perform that role as usual. Police chief Stefan Eiriksson agreed, saying that by skipping the usual pomp and ceremony, the police stand to save a lot of money, Visir.is reports.

The opening of the 140th session of the Icelandic parliament will begin with a short church service at the neighbouring Domkirkjan cathedral and MPs will walk across to the Althingi building at around 11.00.

Bernodusson denies claims that the ceremony was moved forward to reduce the number of protesters who turn out. He says the decision was taken in the summer when MPs decided they would like to start a day earlier than usual and also finish their first day at an earlier time than usual.

In other news, two new investigative committees appointed by Althingi began work today. One is investigating the public sector Housing Finance Fund and the other is investigating what caused Iceland’s savings bank network to falter and eventually crumble.