Monday, January 26, 2009

Iceland 2009 Argentina 2001

That's the title on a TV report right now.
Any guys from Iceland, please read my blog. Do yourself a favor and prevent a lot of problems.
We went through the exact same thing.
Economy goes down.
Then goes the gov.
Man, I'm watching it now, exact same images, pots banged against banks.

Here's an article. By the way, "Que se vaya todos" was our motto in 2001.. means "kick them all out!" .. talking about our politicians...

Iceland 2009: "que se vayan todos"?
by Manuel Alvarez-Rivera, Puerto Rico


Just two years after holding a parliamentary election, voters in Iceland are likely to return to the polls next May 9 for an early general election. Normally, the poll would not need to be held until 2011, but these are anything but normal times in the Nordic island nation, whose economy has been devastated by the ongoing global financial crisis.

With all of Iceland's three major banks under receivership since October; the national currency (the krona) having lost over half its value and the stock market over 90 percent of its value; inflation and unemployment on the rise; and the GDP expected to contract by ten percent this year, public discontent over the perceived mismanagement of the economy by the coalition government of Iceland's two major parties - the conservative Independence Party and the left-of-center Social Democratic Alliance - has fueled mounting protests, first on a weekly basis and more recently on a daily basis.

The protests, which have drawn crowds of up to six thousand - a respectable figure for a country with a population of just over 300,000 - had been peaceful until last week, when they suddenly turned violent. In response, Prime Minister Geir Haarde announced he would call an early election for May 9; he also indicated that he would step down due to health reasons, having been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Prime Minister Haarde initially let it know he intended to stay in office until the early election was held, but protests continued to take place, demanding the government's immediate resignation. Minister of Business Affairs Björgvin G. Sigurðsson subsequently announced he would resign from office immediately, and Haarde's grand coalition government came apart shortly thereafter.

In many ways, the events currently taking place in Iceland are reminiscent of developments in Argentina during that country's economic meltdown in late 2001, in which increasingly intense, violent protests forced the ouster of then-president Fernando de la Rúa under the rallying cry of "¡Que se vayan todos!," or "Away with them all!" - "them" being the politicians. To be certain, voters in Argentina didn't get rid of all the incumbent elected officials, but the financial crisis of 2001-02 crushed de la Rúa's Radical Civic Union (UCR), which until then had been one of the country's major political parties, and obliterated the Radicals' allies as well. Likewise, Iceland's ruling parties may be in for a major setback in the upcoming election: opinion polls indicate that the Independence Party - which has dominated Icelandic party politics since the country severed its union with Denmark in 1944 - may lose its pre-eminent status, while support for the Alliance has fluctuated wildly, with more recent polls suggesting the party is likely to lose considerable ground as well.

The two parties that currently stand out to gain the most are the opposition Left-Green Movement - which stands to the left of the Alliance and appears set to become the largest party in the upcoming election - and the agrarian, middle-of-the road Progressive Party. The Left-Green Movement has never been in power, while the Progressives has held office frequently, most recently from 1995 to 2007 as the Independence Party's coalition partner. Meanwhile, Iceland's grass-root movements may also take part in the upcoming election, and they could find fertile ground for their agenda: according to one opinion poll, eight percent of voters would support parties other than the ones that ran in the preceding election.

At any rate, no single party is likely to gain an overall parliamentary majority under Iceland's proportional representation system (reviewed in Elections to the Icelandic Althing), and the election winner will have to find coalition partners in order to form a government. That said, it remains too early to tell what kind of government may emerge from the election, all the more so because unlike in most of the other Nordic countries, right-left coalitions such as the outgoing Independence Party-Alliance administration are a fairly common occurrence in Iceland.
Posted by Manuel Alvarez-Rivera at 10:34 AM


Iceland's government topples amid financial mess

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Iceland's coalition government collapsed on Monday after an unprecedented wave of public dissent, plunging the island nation into political turmoil as it seeks to rebuild an economy shattered by the global financial crisis.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde resigned and disbanded the government he's led since 2006. Haarde was unwilling to meet the demands of his coalition partner, the Social Democratic Alliance Party, which insisted on choosing a new prime minister in exchange for keeping the coalition intact.

"I really regret that we could not continue with this coalition, I believe that that would have been the best result," Haarde told reporters.

Iceland has been mired in crisis since October, when the country's banks collapsed under the weight of debts amassed during years of rapid expansion.

Thousands of angry citizens have joined noisy weekly protests against the government's handling of the economy, clattering pots and kitchen utensils in what some commentators called the "Saucepan Revolution."

The value of the country's krona currency has plummeted, hitting many Icelanders who took out special loans denoted in foreign currencies for new homes and cars during the boom years. In addition, Iceland must repay billions of dollars to Europeans who held accounts with subsidiaries of collapsed Icelandic banks.

Haarde's government has nationalized banks and negotiated about $10 billion in bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund and individual countries.

Haarde — a fiscal conservative with degrees from the University of Minnesota, Brandeis and Johns Hopkins — is suffering from cancer and has announced he would not seek another term. He called early elections last week, following the mass protests by Icelanders upset at soaring unemployment and rising prices.

Though largely peaceful, the protests have seen Reykjavik's tiny parliament building doused in paint and eggs hurled at Haarde's limousine. Last Thursday, police used tear gas to quell a protest for the first time since 1949.

Haarde said last week that he wouldn't lead his Independence Party into the new elections because he plans to seek treatment in the Netherlands for his cancer.

Following discussions with Haarde, Iceland's figurehead President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he would hold talks with Iceland's four main political parties late Monday before asking one of the organizations to form an interim government.

He's likely to ask Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Gisladottir, head of Social Democratic Alliance, to govern alongside smaller opposition parties until new elections are held.

But Gisladottir said Monday she won't seek to personally replace Haarde as Iceland's leader. She instead proposed her party's popular Social Affairs Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir.

The restoration of trust in the government is critical, said Iceland's Environment Minister Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir, an alliance member.

"What is needed straight away is to try to restore trust between the political establishment and the general public," Sveinbjarnardottir told The Associated Press. "What we need is for the general public to believe that the politicians are working in their interests."

Both the demonstrators and the alliance seek the ouster of Central Bank Gov. David Oddsson, who has served for 13 years.

Sveinbjarnardottir said Oddsson's ouster should be accompanied by the tightening of regulations in the country's financial industry. "We need a certain amount of cleansing to be the first steps," she said.

At a rally Monday outside Parliament, protester Svginn Rumar Hauksson said demonstrations won't end yet.

"The protests will continue until it becomes clear that things are really changing," he said.


Sonia Hamilton said...

Ferfal, I wonder who will be next after Iceland - one the Baltic States, Spain/Italy/Greece, the UK, or ...?

Gracias por tu blog, me gusta mucho leerlo. Estuve en BA en 2005 cuando el país se mejoraba un poco; es una pena que se haya vuelto a derrumbarse. Suerte, Sonia.

Anonymous said...

...or Hungary (or Ukraine)!

Othervise here You can see Guys, the rioters ultimate "medicine" :) against riot police during the 2006 Octobre's revolt against our komprador gouvernment.

and once again

Hungary, Europe

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that people chant to the government. Sure toss them out - absolutely. But, I don't understand the economic fix people are expecting to get from paper pushers. What does a centeral bank provide? Paper IOU Notes, well can't we just go home jump on the printer and do that ourselves - Heck we could contract with one another. Set up little neigborhood banks and take out our own local loans. Governments don't produce, invent, feed or cloth. They are like banks, just pushing paper.

So, what are people doing begging for a medium of exchage when we alone produce the products and create the markets. If it is market mismanagement then shouldn't you be glad to rid yourself of buffons.

I dunno I don't get it. If the protest was about war, police burtality, oppressive legislation or strike; But for paper debt - I say heck with the leaches start another commodity currency of your own.