Responses to frequent questions by foreign journalists

Here are some of my responses to foreign journalists who are curious about the situation in Iceland:

It is obvious that if the Left Greens, the Social Democrats and the Pirates gain a majority in Parliament (which they might, even if they might not gain a majority of the population), they will have to form a government together. Their policies and programmes point in that direction, and that is what their votes will expect of them. Their constituencies will simply demand that and not allow them to do anything else. They are entrapped by their own rhetoric. Anyway, the Left Greens are only refusing to exclude any other partners such as the centre-right Independence Party in order to raise their price in coalition talks with the rest of the left. It is a ploy, not a policy.

Iceland has recovered completely economically from the 2008 bank crash, and is flourishing while other European countries are languishing, the victims of stagnation and huge government debts. Iceland has no unemployment, whereas the unemployment rate of young people in some European countries is around 50%. Iceland has achieved this without an increase in inequality. Income distribution in Iceland is now the most even in the world. Iceland also has a strong pension system, mostly well-funded, and the pensioners enjoy better income on average than in the other Nordic countries.

It would therefore be surprising if the Independence Party which has been in government since 2013 would not get good support. Probably it will gain more seats than it seems to be getting now (according to opinion polls), under the old maxim, formulated by Clinton’s political adviser, Carville: It’s the economy, stupid! There is however a relentless personal campaign going on, driven by the overwhelmingly leftwing media in Iceland, against the leader of the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson, all based on the fact that he is a wealthy man from a wealthy family. He has not been shown to have done anything illegal or immoral: He has just taken care of his property in the same way as all wealthy people do. He did not possess any insider information in the bank crash, for example, as he was then a member of parliament, and not a government minister. He simply read the newspapers, as everybody else did.

Likewise, if the left does not gain a majority of seats in the Parliament, probably the other parties would form a government. But the more parties there will be, the more difficult negotiations between them before forming a government will become.

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