Related News

Home » World

New prime minister faces dire Iceland fiscal crisis

A NEW center-left government took office in crisis-hit Iceland on Sunday, headed by the country's first openly gay national leader.

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir and her cabinet were officially appointed by the head of state, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, after a tumultuous week that saw Iceland's previous conservative government collapse over the country's economic meltdown.

Sigurdardottir said one of her first acts "will be to change the leadership of the central bank."

Central bank governor David Oddsson, a former prime minister, is disliked by many Icelanders, who say authorities helped cause the economic crash by failing to rein in reckless banks and businesses.

Sigurdardottir, 66, is a former flight attendant and union organizer, and served as social affairs minister in the previous government.

She is Iceland's first female prime minister, and her cabinet is the country's first to be split evenly between men and women.

Sigurdardottir also is the first openly gay national leader of modern times, apart from Per-Kristian Foss, a Norwegian politician who briefly served as his country's prime minister in 2002.

The new government is a coalition of Sigurdardottir's Social Democratic Alliance and the Left-Green movement, and will hold office until elections on April 25.

Left Green leader Steingrimur Sigfusson is the new finance minister, signaling an economic swerve to the left after years of conservative rule.

"Today, laissez-faire economic policy leaves Iceland, which is severely wounded after years of it running the government," Sigfusson said.

In a statement, the new government said it would conduct "a prudent fiscal policy" and protect the welfare state.

Iceland's conservative prime minister, Geir Haarde, resigned last week after months of angry protests against his handling of the economy.

Thousands of angry Icelanders had been demonstrating against Haarde's government for months, clattering pots and kitchen utensils in what some called the "Saucepan Revolution."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend