The world financial crisis has brought down Iceland’s conservative government and created an opening for the far left.
From Australia’s Green Left Weekly
Ongoing mass demonstrations in response to a severe economic crisis has led to the collapse of the Icelandic government. Prime Minister Geir Haarde resigned on January 23 along with the whole government cabinet.
Icelandic activist Eirkur Bergmann commented on the website of the British Guardian: “The word ‘revolution’ might sound a bit of an overstatement, but given the calm temperament that usually prevails in Icelandic politics, the unfolding events represent, at the very least, a revolution in political activism.”
With the anti-government revolt growing, Haarde, leader of the right wing Independence Party, refused an offer from its coalition partner, the Social Democratic Alliance (SDA), to keep the coalition intact on the condition that they would choose a new prime minister.
By January 29, a new governing coalition had formed and Iceland’s social affairs minister, the SDA’s Johanna Sigurdardottir, was announced as the country’s interim leader until new elections are held in May.
Sigurdardottir, who will be the world’s first openly gay leader, has been installed as head of an interim centre-left coalition which includes the SDA and the Left-Green Movement (LGM).
Support for the LGM has surged in response to the widespread anti-establishment sentiment unleashed by the economic crisis.
In the 2007 elections, the LGM received 14.3% of the vote and won 9 seats in parliament.
Currently it is polling 32.6%, higher than any other
The LGM was formed in 1999, aiming to unite left-wing and green movements into one party based on four principles: conservation of the environment; equality and social justice; fair and prosperous economy; and an independent foreign policy.
A staunch NATO ally and once one of the most stable countries in Europe, Iceland has undergone a complete political transformation in a few short months.
If the far left can bring down Iceland, the rest of Europe should be very wary.