Progressive Party (Iceland)
|Chairperson||Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson|
|Vice-chairperson||Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson|
|Leader of the parliamentary group||Þórunn Egilsdóttir|
|Chairperson of the municipal council||Elín Líndal|
|Founded||16 December 1916|
|Youth wing||Association of Young People in the Progressive Party|
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
|Seats in the Althing||
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|Politics of Iceland
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The Progressive Party (Icelandic: Framsóknarflokkurinn, FSF) is a liberal and agrarian political party in Iceland. The party has been a member of the Liberal International since 1983. Current chairman of the party is Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who was elected on 18 January 2009 and is Prime Minister of Iceland since 23 May 2013 following the 2013 parliamentary election: His predecessor was Valgerður Sverrisdóttir, who only served as chairman for two months. Her predecessor, Guðni Ágústsson, who, as a vice-chairman became chairman when the previous chairman, Jón Sigurðsson, resigned after the Progressive Party suffered great losses in the 2007 election. Jón's predecessor as party leader was Halldór Ásgrímsson, chairman 1994 to 2006. Halldór served as Prime Minister from 2004 to 2006.
The Progressive Party was founded to represent Iceland's farmer class, which went from being dominant from settlement to the late 19th century to rapidly dwindling in the early 20th century as a result of industrialization and urbanization. Its primary support still comes from the rural areas of Iceland and its policy roots still stem from its origin as an agrarian party, although it has since come to self-identify as a liberal party, though this is disputed outside of the party. It was founded in 1916 as a merger of two agrarian parties, the Farmers' Party (Bændaflokkur) and the Independent Farmers (Óháðir bændur). in 1956 the party almost agreed to an aborted merger with the Social Democratic Party.
Throughout Iceland's history as a self-governing and independent nation, the Progressive Party has most often been the second largest political party in the country. It has often joined government coalitions with either the Independence Party on the centre-right, or with centre-left parties. The party was a coalition partner to the Independence Party during the period 1995 to 2007.
Following the 1971 parliamentary election, the Progressive Party formed a government with the People's Alliance and Union of Liberals and Leftists, with Progressive Party chairman Ólafur Jóhannesson serving as Prime Minister.
The 1978 parliamentary election returned Ólafur Jóhannesson to the role of Prime Minister, leading a coalition containing the Progressive Party, People's Alliance and Social Democratic Party after two months of coalition negotiations.
The snap 1979 parliamentary election caused by the withdrawal of the Social Democrats from government led to a new government being formed in February 1980 by the Independence Party of Prime Minister Gunnar Thoroddsen, Progressive Party and People's Alliance.
The 1987 parliamentary election in May saw a coalition being formed in July of that year led by Thorsteinn Pálsson of the Independence Party, with the Progressive Party and Social Democratic Party as junior partners. However, in September 1988, a new government was formed by the Progressive Party's Steingrímur Hermannsson with the Social Democrats and People's Alliance.
In the 1995 parliamentary election, Davíð Oddsson remained as Prime Minister, with the Progressive Party returning to government as junior coalition partner to the Independence Party, a coalition which continued after the 1999 election.
In the 2003 parliamentary election, the Progressive Party received 17.2% of the vote and 12 seats in the Althing. On 15 September 2004, Halldór Ásgrímsson of the Progressive Party took over as Prime Minister from Davíð Oddsson. Halldór Ásgrímsson announced his intention to resign on 5 June 2006 following the party's poor results in the 2006 municipal elections. The coalition remained allied with the Independence Party chairman, Geir H. Haarde, as Prime Minister. The Progressive Party leader Jón Sigurðsson was Minister of Industry and Commerce, until a coalition of the Independence Party and the Social Democratic Alliance took over after the elections in 2007.
In the 2007 parliamentary election, the party dropped five seats to hold only seven seats, down from twelve. The coalition only held a one-seat majority in the Althing, and the Independence Party formed a coalition government with the Social Democratic Alliance with the deal being signed on 22 May, returning the Progressive Party to the opposition. When a centre-left minority government was formed in February 2009, in the wake of the 2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis, the Progressive Party agreed to defend it from a no-confidence vote, but did not form part of the governing coalition.
In January 2009, it decided to change its party line on joining the European Union (EU) from being opposed to being in favour of EU accession, but with very strong caveats. In retrospect of how these caveats are likely to be considered, the party has since changed its policy to one of firm opposition to EU membership, leaving the Social Democratic Alliance and Bright Future as the main Icelandic parties in favour of Icelandic EU membership.
In the 2009 parliamentary election, the Progressive Party fared somewhat better, securing 14.8% of the vote, and increasing its number of seats from seven to nine. It remained in opposition, however, with a centre-left coalition of the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left-Green Movement continuing to govern with an increased majority.
In the 2013 parliamentary election, the Progressive Party reached second place nationally, winning 24.4% of the vote and 9 seats. Following the election, a centre-right coalition government was formed between the Progressive Party and Independence Party, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson of the Progressive Party appointed as Prime Minister.
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7 of its 12 chairmen have been prime ministers of Iceland:
- Tryggvi Þórhallsson PM 1927–1932 cm 1928-1932
- Ásgeir Ásgeirsson PM 1932-1934 cm 1932-1933
- Hermann Jónasson PM 1934-1942 and 1956–1958 cm 1944-1962
- Ólafur Jóhannesson PM 1971-1974 and 1978–1979 cm 1968-1979
- Steingrímur Hermannsson PM 1983-1987 and 1988–1991 cm 1979-1994
- Halldór Ásgrímsson PM 2004–2006 cm 1994-2006
- Jón Sigurðsson cm 2006-2007
- Guðni Ágústsson cm 2007-2008
- Valgerður Sverrisdóttir cm 2008-2009
- Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson PM 2013-present cm 2009–present
In addition to those, Steingrímur Steinþórsson headed a government from 1950 to 1953.
- Nordic agrarian parties
- Contributions to liberal theory
- Liberalism worldwide
- List of liberal parties
- Liberal democracy
- Liberalism and centrism in Iceland
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- Progressives support Iceland EU entry IceNews, 17 January 2009
- Progressive Party General Meeting: No to EU Iceland Review Online. 9 February 2013. Accessed 14 March 2013
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- Progressive Party official site