26 January 2009

How Icelandic are we: Coalition government collapses in face of crisis

The Icelandic coalition government unravelled on Monday after the latest in a series of public demonstrations prompted the country’s commerce minister to resign.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde tendered his resignation after trying to reform a coalition. Elections were scheduled for May.

The protests this past weekend were relatively peaceful (left). Other recent protests ended with police, arrests and tear gas.

The whole thing is reminiscent of the situation in Newfoundland 75 years ago.

In the midst of a financial crisis,  workers in St. John’s stormed the country’s parliament and besieged the prime minister, Sir Richard Squires.

squires-riotWithin three months, Squires was out.

A new administration formed under Frederick Alderdice following a general election which Alderdice fought on the pledge to consider placing under the government in the hands of a British-appointed commission.

In 1934, the country’s legislature voted to suspend the country’s constitution as a means of staving off bankruptcy. The government was administered by a commission comprising six commissioners appointed by the United Kingdom.

Responsible government was restored in 1949.