|01-24-2009, 07:58 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Cypress, Texas, USA
Icelandic government brought down
Icelandic government becomes first to be brought down by the credit crunch
By Graham Smith
The government of Iceland today became the first to be effectively brought down by the credit crunch.
After several nights of rioting over the financial crisis, Prime Minister Geir Haarde, surrendered to increasing pressure and called a general election for May.
A poll would not normally be held until 2011.
Haarde also revealed that he had been diagnosed with a malignant tumour of the oesophagus and would not seek re-election.
'I have decided not to seek re-election as leader of the Independence Party at its upcoming national congress,' he told a news conference.
The global financial crisis hit Iceland, which has a population 320,000, in October, triggering a collapse in its currency and financial system under the weight of billions of dollars of foreign debts incurred by its banks
The economy is set to shrink 10 percent this year and unemployment is surging.
Critics wanted Haarde, the central bank governor and other senior officials to resign.
Some senior figures in his party have also said they favour an early election, but Haarde had up to now vowed to defy plunging popularity and stay on.
Protests had been held weekly since the crisis broke last year, but since Tuesday have been held every night.
On Thursday, police used teargas on demonstrators for the first time since protests against the North Atlantic island's entry into the NATO alliance in 1949.
Special forces had to rescue Haarde from his car after he was surrounded by an furious mob hurling eggs and cans outside the government offices, in Reykjavik.
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