Icelandic government uses another of its nine lives

VGIcelandic Left-Green MP Gudfridur Lilja Grettarsdottir believes the government is still in good working order, despite recent comments about cats and disagreements over structural changes.

The Left-Green Movement met yesterday in Reykjavik with many issues on the agenda, including Icesave and parliamentary bills – but no issue was as heated as the debate over Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir’s comments over the weekend.

The Social Democrat PM said that cobbling together a parliamentary majority on individual issues often takes a very long time and that the process of governing with the Left-Greens can be like herding cats.

Some Left-Greens were offended at being likened to cats and protested that a good politician should always ask questions and should not be easily herded by a Social Democrat Prime Minister, or by anyone else. Other party members acknowledged the PM’s light criticism with a smile.

Many Left-Green MPs are also dissatisfied with the Social Democrats’ stated wish to streamline government by reducing the number of ministries and significantly cutting the number of government directorates. The official Left-Green position is that now is not the right time to destabilise the mechanics of government and that merging the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture into a single industry ministry would deal a blow to Iceland’s key economic interests during EU accession talks.

According to Finance Minister and Left-Green leader Steingrimur J. Sigfusson, the coalition government is not in danger, but he would not comment on Sigurdardottir’s weekend comments to RUV. Changes to government are possible, he said; but did not go into further detail.

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