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Prime Minister Formally Tenders Government's Resignation

26.1.2009

The coalition government of the right-wing Independence Party and the Social Democratic Alliance has come to an end. The Prime Minister met with the President of Iceland at 4 pm today to formally deliver his government’s resignation.

In a statement delivered in the Icelandic parliament Althingi today, the PM said:

“It should be pointed out to parliament that there is no disagreement on principle between the parties. However, the demand by the Social Democratic Alliance that it take over the office of Prime Minister was not part of the coalition platform we agreed upon and is unacceptable. It should be clear to everyone that a demand that the leadership be transferred from one coalition party to the other cannot but result in the fall of the government.

I wish to thank the Rt. Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, personally for our co-operation in government. This has been exemplary in all respects.

This government has accomplished major tasks under incredibly difficult circumstances in recent weeks and months. It is practically a miracle that the banking system in the country is still in a functioning state following the collapse of the financial system in early October. Preparations for recovery and reconstruction of our society have been proceeding well. During this period around a hundred amendments to laws, regulations and administrative decisions have been implemented or decided upon. Miracles cannot, however, be accomplished every day. Even though everyone realises this, we sometimes face such demands.

Unfortunately, what I have feared might happen ever since the collapse of the banks at the beginning of October, has now happened, with a political crisis now added to the economic crisis.

I urge all members of parliament now to rise to the occasion and the responsibility entrusted to them by the nation, to make sure that the wide-reaching rescue actions currently underway are not wiped out by anarchy and chaos. None of us is more important than the nation’s welfare, and we must all march in time in the coming weeks and months until the voters have elected new representatives.

This is the task now facing us here in the Althingi.”

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