At a press conference today, following his meeting this morning with Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson told reporters that he would not be accepting the Prime Minister’s request to dissolve parliament at this time, citing a need to discuss the matter with other leaders of the parliamentary majority, notably Minister of Finance and chairman of the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson.
The prime minister declined to comment.
A coalition of minority leaders has proposed a resolution of no confidence in the administration, which is will be put to vote tomorrow morning—assuming the government survives the night.
Prior to the meeting, the prime minister had shared a Facebook post to his official page where he expressed a willingness to dissolve parliament if members of the Independence Party “did not feel comfortable supporting the administration in the completion of their shared commitments.”
Despite mass-protests outside Alþingi, the Parliamentary House, yesterday afternoon, Sigmundur expressed undaunted confidence in himself and his administration, stating that he is “proud of [his] actions in politics thus far” and unafraid to face the electorate in a new election, whether that be sooner or later.
Other members of the prime minister’s party, the Progressive Party—which despite the name is right-of-center and on the conservative side of current electoral politics—have nonetheless objected to his decision to remain in office.
All of the party’s representatives on the Akureyri town council as well as other party officials in the district, including the Akureyri Progressive Party’s former chairman, have collectively challenged him to resign. Akureyri is the second largest town in Iceland, and the largest settlement in the North East electoral district, which also happens to be Sigmundur’s own parliamentary district.
Karl Garðarsson, MP for the the Progressive Party, expressed dissatisfaction with Sigmundur’s decision to bring his request for parliamentary dissolution to the president without consulting with the party’s MPs. Although he still supports the administration without reservation he disagrees with how the prime minister has handled things in the past 48 hours.
“Our current situation is very ambiguous and we need an explanation from Sigmundur as to what his intentions are,” Karl told RÚV earlier today.
The party’s MPs met unofficially in Parliament at noon today without the prime minister. An invitation was not extended to the party leader until just after 1PM.