With the Icelandic election just days away, here is a closer look at the Reform Party; a party that managed to go from formation to government in the space of a few months last year.
The Reform Party is a centre/centre-right political party which split from the Independence Party in May 2016 over discontent with its policies on the European Union and its opposition to free trade.
In the elections just months after their formation, the party won 10.5% of the vote, winning seven seats in parliament and putting them as an important player in the attempts to form a government. Following talks with the three largest largest parties – Independence, the Left-Green Movement and the Pirate Party – a coalition deal with Independence was eventually reached, with the support of Bright Future.
However, the party has taken a beating in the polls over the last few months, particularly after the collapse of the Independence-led coalition. Following poor performance in polling, the leader and founder of the party, Benedikt Jóhannesson, resigned his post, with former Independence parliamentarian Þorgerður K. Gunnarsdóttir taking up his role.
The Reform Party is pro-European, believing that Iceland should join the European Union, and embraces liberalism. It is a supporter of green policies and Iceland’s welfare state.
Health and welfare
- Improve health and promote prevention with targeted public health policy
- Increase emphasis on prevention and treatment of mental illness with improvements to access in psychiatric services
- Accelerate construction of the new National Hospital – to be completed no later than 2022
- Increase national productivity to increase economic growth
- Allow first-time buyers to set up tax-free savings accounts in anticipation of housing purchases
- Allow equal access to higher education regardless of age
- Teach gender equality at all levels of education
- Reform the student loan system to allow more income-related instalments and ensure it allows equal opportunities regardless of their background
- Make Iceland a more active participant of the European Economic Area (EEA) and restart membership negotiations with the European Union
- Support gender equality in all international co-operation
Environment and natural resources
- Create a comprehensive resource policy to utilise resources based on a scientific basis
- Introduce a fee for business using publicly-owned resources to cover (at least) the environmental costs incurred
- Reform green taxation to put greater emphasis on economic incentives to reduce emissions
- Eradicate the gender pay cap
- Legally enforce and act on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the party that provoked this election after pulling out of the Independence-led coalition – Bright Future.