Liberal Party (Iceland)

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This article is about the modern Liberal Party. For the historical Liberal Party, see Liberal Party (Iceland, historical).
Liberal Party
Frjálslyndi flokkurinn
Chairperson Sigurjón Þórðarson
Vice-chairperson Ásta Hafberg
Founded November 28, 1998 (1998-11-28)
Split from Independence Party
Headquarters Lyngháls 3,
110 Reykjavík
Ideology
Political position Centre-right[2]
Colours Blue and White
Seats in the parliament
0 / 63
Politics of Iceland
Political parties
Elections

The Liberal Party (Icelandic: Frjálslyndi flokkurinn) is a liberal political party in Iceland. Its main issue was fisheries policy and it drew its main support from coastal villages.[1] It has no seats in the Althing, having lost its four seats at the 2009 election.

The Liberal Party was founded by former Independence Party MP Sverrir Hermannsson in 1998. It was founded primarily in opposition to the fishing quota, and became a protest vote.[1] In the following year's election, the party won two seats out of 63. This climbed to four in 2003: a level that was maintained at the 2007 election. However, the party lost all its parliamentary representation in 2009, after a financial crisis hit the country.

The party is a strong supporter of the free market, against subsidies and monopolies, and in favour of civil liberties.[1] It is oriented particularly towards the fishing industry.[3] and campaigns for the coastal electorate. It advocates the redistribution of fishing rights, as few big fishing companies have bought up around 70% of all quotas. While Reykjavíkan large-scale fisheries became rich, some coastal villages that were dependent on draught became impoverished.[1] The party chairman is Sigurjón Þórðarson, and he decided in March 2012 to merge his party together with the new political party named Dawn. For the moment it is however a bit unclear if the party function as a wing fraction within the new party, or if the structures have been completely merged. It is however clear, that the previous Liberal Party candidates now will run the 2013 Icelandic parliamentary election for the new Dawn party.[4][5]

History[edit]

The Liberal Party was founded by Sverrir Hermannsson, a former MP of the Independence Party and CEO of Landsbanki, in November 1998. Sverrir had been a member of Independence-led governments from 1983 to 1988 before he went into the private sector. He turned his back to the Independence Party in disappointment over their turn to neoliberal policies.[1]

In 2006/7, the minor New Force party merged into the Liberal Party, which caused the prominent Liberal Party member Margrét Sverrisdóttir to leave the party and join the Icelandic Movement - Living Land, threatening to split the Liberal Party.[6][7]

The party has, before the 2007 parliament elections, moved from being primarily focused on issues of fishing quotas and small fishing communities toward immigration. It is the only political party in Iceland that supports strict restrictions on immigration, and consequently the party has been accused of xenophobia.[citation needed] The party conducted a members' poll in January 2009 in order to determine its EU stance. The outcome was against EU-accession of Iceland. The party supports strict neutrality.

In February 2009, two of the Liberal Party's parliamentarians left the party; Jón Magnússon joined the Independence Party and Kristinn H. Gunnarsson joined the Progressive Party.

Ideology[edit]

Fishing quotas[edit]

Privatisation[edit]

Immigration[edit]

The Liberal Party of Iceland is against unrestricted immigration and wishes to tighten these laws.[citation needed]

Foreign policy[edit]

The Liberal Party is against the idea of Iceland joining the European Union. The party's stance was decided in a party members' poll which was conducted in December 2008. The question was: Should Iceland seek EU-membership?. The results were published in January 2009 with 51.6% being against EU-accession, 34.8% in favour and 9.5% undecided.[8]

The party supports Iceland's membership of NATO, but was firmly opposed to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Election results[edit]

Parliament[edit]

Election Votes Vote % Seats Place
1999 6,919 Steady 4.2 Steady
2 / 63
5th Steady
2003 13,523 Increase 7.4 Increase
4 / 63
5th Steady
2007 13,233 Decrease 7.3 Decrease
4 / 63
5th Steady
2009 4,148 Decrease 2.2 Decrease
0 / 63
6th Decrease
2013 Did not participate.

Leaders[edit]

Chairpersons[edit]

Vice-chairpersons[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Rubart, Frauke (2006). Das Parteiensystem Islands. Die Parteiensysteme Westeuropas (in German) (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag). p. 254. ISBN 978-3-531-14111-4. 
  2. ^ a b Bjarnason, Magnus (2010). The Political Economy of Joining the European Union: Iceland's Position at the Beginning of the 21st Century. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. p. 52. ISBN 9789056296421. 
  3. ^ Rademacher, A.K.; Bätz, C.; Hartmann, K. (2010). Iceland - An Overview: History, Economy, Culture, Educational System (in German). Munich: GRIN Verlag. p. 6. ISBN 9783640768462. 
  4. ^ "Liberals in talks with other political movements" (in Icelandic). Mbl.is. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Her name shall be Dawn" (in Icelandic). Rúv.is. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_news/?cat_id=16567&ew_0_a_id=260125
  7. ^ http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_news/?cat_id=16567&ew_0_a_id=260428
  8. ^ "Liberal Party rejects EU-membership" (in Icelandic). 14 January 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2009. [dead link]