Languages
Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

Iceland announces early election

Iceland's Prime Minister Geir Haarde
Mr Haarde is to travel abroad for surgery on the malignant tumour

Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde has called an early general election for 9 May, adding that he will not stand again because of a throat tumour.

Mr Haarde plans to have surgery abroad following a medical examination that revealed the malignant growth, he said.

He said a new chairman would lead the party in the elections.

There have been several protests against the government since October, when Iceland's financial system collapsed in the global credit crunch.

On Wednesday, angry protesters surrounded Mr Haarde's car outside the government building in the capital Reykjavik, banging on the vehicle's windows and pelting it with eggs.

Increasing pressure

"I have decided not to seek re-election as leader of the Independence Party at its upcoming national congress" in March, Mr Haarde told a news conference on Friday.

Protesters throw eggs at Geir Haarde's car
Protesters pelted Mr Haarde's car with eggs outside parliament on Wednesday

"On Tuesday I was informed that a biopsy had indicated that the tumour was malignant," he said.

Mr Haarde's heads a coalition government with the Social Democratic Alliance which, having been formed after elections in 2007, was not legally required to call a general election until 2011.

But the government has come under increasing pressure as it struggles to get its banking system working again following the nationalisation of its biggest banks in October.

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Icelanders held over angry demo
21 Jan 09 |  Europe
Iceland recovering well, says IMF
18 Dec 08 |  Business
Country profile: Iceland
20 Nov 08 |  Country profiles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific