Icelanders Force Change
Of regime, anyway. But it’s a hopeful sign that more people even in developed, consumerist societies aren’t just going to sit back and suffer from the crisis. From The Independent (UK).
Iceland PM is first global political casualty of the crunch
Prime Minister resigns after week of violent protest
By Sophie Morris in Reykjavik
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Iceland’s embattled Prime Minister Geir Haarde may have become the first political casualty of the global credit crisis, announcing his resignation yesterday, and clearing the way for elections in May. Illness was the official reason for Mr Haarde’s decision to quit, but few in the capital Reykjavik were in any doubt that his departure was linked to a week of intense and violent public protests at once prosperous Iceland’s economic implosion.
Since October’s financial earthquake Icelanders have vented their frustration, anger and despair in peaceful weekly protests. But demonstrations turned violent on Thursday, leading to 22 arrests and the worst civilian unrest since Iceland joined Nato in 1949.
The tensions prompted the government’s first admission since October that Iceland needs a change of leadership if it is to rebuild its fractured economy and overhaul its discredited political culture, viewed by many Icelanders as corrupt and nepotistic.