65° - 01.09.1967, Blaðsíða 7

65° - 01.09.1967, Blaðsíða 7
Iceland Periscope by JON MAGNUSSON Elections for the Icelandic Parliament took place in June 1967. Of the total voting population, 90.4% participated — 10,000 more people than voted in the 1963 elections. During the last two election periods, the coun- try has been ruled by a coalition of the largest and the smallest parties: the Independent Party and the Social Democratic Party. Four years ago, this coalition held 32 of 60 electorals seats in the Aiding. The number of seats remained the same in the 1967 elections, but the Independent Party lost one seat and the Social Democrats gained one. Election gains were as follows: Social Democratic Party 9 seats (+1), 15.7% of total (last time 14.2%). People’s Party 10 seats (+1), 17.6% of total (last time 16.0%). Progressive Party 18 seats (—1), 28.1% of total (last time 28.2%). Independent Party 23 seats (—1), 37.5% of total (last time 41.4%). After the elections, the ruling parties announc- ed they would follow the same general policies as before, according to the will of the voters. It was said that talks would be initiated concerning a new agreement on policy matters which had been subject to changing factors, and that the solution of most pressing problems would be urged. These talks were to be finished before the next Aiding convened in October, 1967. * Chief problems in the spotlight are financial, particularly the fact that the prices of Icelandic fish products have dropped considerably on the foreign market. Fish catches were lean in the first months of the year, causing local freezing plants trouble. Mr. Magnusson has been news editor of the State Radio System since 1941. The importance of fish catches to the national economy can be gathered from the fact that dur- ing 1966 the export of frozen fish was 1612 million kronur (43 kronur = $1.00 U.S.) and comprised 26% of the total export of the country. Over 90% of Iceland’s annual export is fish: fresh, frozen, salted, and dried, as well as fish products such as meals and oils. The prices of herring meal and herring oil have dropped considerably, nor have the herring come near the shores this summer, but have been caught far to the north and east of Iceland, e.g. on the banks near Jan Mayen. By late August, no herring had been salted. Salted herring is the most im- portant part of the herring export, and contracts have been made to sell 322,000 barrels of it to seven countries. Because of price-freezing laws made during the year, prices have remained stationary and both the cost of living index and wage index have been unchanged for many months. The demand for labor has also fallen sharply, but as yet there is no unemployment to speak of. The trading bal- ance has been falling short, e.g. 1500 million kronur the first six months of the year as com- pared with a deficit of 617 million kronur for the 65 5



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