On 10-11 February, ALDE Party member in Iceland, Viðreisn, held its National Assembly in Reykjavík. During the Assembly, Icelandic liberals re-elected Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir as Chair of the party and Daði Már Kristófersson as Vice Chair. The party also decided to create a new Secretary of the Board post for which they appointed Sigmar Gudmundsson, member of parliament in the Southwest constituency.
In her speech to Congress, Gunnarsdóttir talked about the importance of European cooperation and values, noting in particular the inequalities the Icelandic nation faces where some can use the Euro in their business because it brings them stability whereas others cannot. She talked about the ‘peace’ the current government has settled on after several years of political turbulence, but noted this is a false peace, about status quo rather than necessary progress:
“Is there peace about the fact that the big companies are allowed to settle their business in foreign currency, but the small companies are not? That cleaners, teachers, bus drivers and office workers are forced to use the Icelandic króna? Is there peace about the fact that ordinary Icelandic households are thus forced into the role of speculators in the currency market in order not to fail?
Is there peace that those who have the most lose the least in hard times? Is there peace about establishing a culture of waiting lists in healthcare? Is there really peace about the fact that mental well-being is not valued equally with physical well-being?
Is there peace about lack of climate ambition? Is there peace about oligopoly being preferred over competition?
This is of course no peace. Let alone freedom.”
A new Board of Directors and Affairs Council of the party were also elected. You can find out more about their membership here.
Icelandic liberals also adopted a political resolution titled ‘Now is the right time’, focused on improving healthcare and combating inflation. In the resolution, they call for a timed and funded health plan, for households to be released from the krona’s interest rate restrictions, improved resource management, and trade liberalisation. Find out more here.
On the topic of healthcare Gunnarsdóttir declared: “Politicians must not maintain miserable waiting lists, waiting lists that have become the government's trademark in health care. The waiting lists are accompanied by countless stories, which would be laughable because of their absurdity, if they were not accompanied by all these trials and suffering of people.”
The party also affirmed that “Iceland should further increase its participation in European cooperation and become a full member of the European Union”. The party noted that “the EEA agreement is the biggest step towards membership which has proven successful” but “it is unacceptable that Iceland does not take part in strategic planning and decisions about its own destiny, decisions which we have to obey nonetheless.”
They also voted to amend their party statutes to create a Secretary General, shorten the deadline to run for the party’s leadership positions at the National Assembly, implementat an equal sex ratio for all top positions, and more. Read about all the changes to the statutes here.
During the National Assembly, ALDE Party Vice-Presidents Baroness Sal Brinton and Kira Rudik MP delivered video messages.
In her video, Brinton delivered a debrief on the UK political situation and the consequences of Brexit, saying that the UK needs to rebuild trust and work with countries both inside and outside the EU to develop arrangements for trade, understanding and cooperation, given the country’s new status.
In her message, Rudik, speaking from Kyiv, thanked the Assembly for the support received from Iceland and spoke about the unity seen from Europe.
Photo credit: Viðreisn