Iceland opposition demands election date, PM refuses
April 12 2016 05:59 PM
Iceland  Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson
Iceland Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson

AFP/ Reykjavik

Iceland's opposition parties on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson to set a date for early elections due ‘in autumn’ but he refused, the two sides said.

Johannsson took office last week after massive public protests pushed his predecessor, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, to resign over a hidden offshore holding uncovered in the leaked Panama Papers.

When he took over, Johannsson said new elections would moved up to the autumn, instead of as scheduled in April 2017.

The leftwing and centrist opposition, who failed to push through a vote of no-confidence in Johannsson's government on Friday, on Tuesday met with the premier to demand he set a specific date for a new election.

‘That is what the opposition leaders discussed at the meeting: the need to get a date for the elections and a list of priority issues that the government intends to take through parliament,’ Kristjan Burgess, secretary general of the Social Democratic Alliance, told AFP.

‘As I understand it, they got neither,’ he added.

But Johannsson's spokesman, Sigurdur Mar Jonsson, said the election was not the main subject of the encounter and that no date had been set yet.

‘It was mostly about how work will be carried out in the next weeks and months. Not about a date for the election. There is no decision on this,’ he said.

The rightwing majority has maintained its hold on power despite six straight days of demonstrations outside parliament in Reykjavik last week, with protesters demanding the coalition step down.

In addition to Gunnlaugsson, two other cabinet members, the finance and interior ministers, have been named in the Panama Papers.

According to pollsters, the right wing currently trails far behind the left in voter support.


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