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Iceland Dismisses Finance Minister Hardardottir in Consolidation

Iceland’s Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir dismissed Finance Minister Oddny Hardardottir in a move designed to prepare the government for next year’s parliamentary elections and reduce the number of ministries.

Hardardottir, 55, will be replaced by former Industry Minister Katrin Juliusdottir, 37, on Oct. 1, according to a statement on the website of Sigurdardottir’s Social Democratic Alliance. The consolidation is the second since the government took office in April 2009. The north Atlantic island’s next parliamentary elections are in May.

The reduction of ministries to eight from 10 was approved by parliament on May 11 and is set to take place on Sept. 1. A new Industry and Innovation Ministry will replace the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. The duties of the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs will be divided between that new ministry and the Ministry of Finance, which will be renamed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. The Environment Ministry will be renamed the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources.

With these changes “Johanna Sigurdardottir has managed what no other government has managed, despite beautiful promises, to reduce the number of ministries in one term by four,” according to the statement.

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