Iceland’s first female PM: “Brexit a mistake”

Former Icelandic PM, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.

Former Icelandic PM, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Photo: Ómar Óskarsson

Iceland’s first female Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir views ‘Brexit’ as “neither sensible for Britain nor good for Europe” and looks to “intelligent, dynamic and sensible women” to deal with the aftermath.

In an opinion piece for Newsweek, she laments to result of the British referendum in which 52% of voters expressed their wish for the UK to leave the European Union, saying “I think it will have a negative effect on the UK, economically and socially, and cause uncertainty and instability.”

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“Brexit also stirs up extreme nationalism and could, therefore, make it more difficult for Europe to deal with terrorism and ensure peace,” she continues.

52% of British voters opted last Thursday to take the ...

52% of British voters opted last Thursday to take the UK out of the European Union. Photo: AFP

The political turmoil and “complex situation” caused by the Brexit vote needs now to be dealt with and Sigurðardóttir suggests that “Europe needs it women leaders”.

With reference specifically to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Scottish Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Iceland’s former PM is “relieved” that the task ahead lies in the hands of “responsible, respected [women] leaders, […] often less inclined to risk-taking than many male politicians”.

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She foresees that Merkel “will do her best to minimize the damage to the EU and limit the uncertainty in the wake of Brexit”, while Sturgeon is on call to protect the interests of the Scottish people – who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir disagrees with President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson on the ...

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir disagrees with President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson on the effects of Brexit. Photo: Iceland Monitor/Ómar

“In my experience, women work hard to create a more just and equal society—when they are given the chance. If that was more often the case, and women were not simply called in to do the cleaning up when the men have made a mess of things, I think the world would become a better place,” she explains.

Siguðardóttir was Prime Minister of Iceland 2009-13. She was Iceland’s first female Prime Minister and the world’s first openly homosexual head of government.

She was one of the driving forces behind Iceland’s application to join the EU back in 2009, and describes Brexit as “neither sensible for Britain nor good for Europe”.

Her views on Brexit are at variance with those recently expressed by Iceland’s outgoing president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who described the UK’s recent referendum result as “good news” for Iceland.

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Currency

USD USD 100.15 EUR EUR 125.20
GBP GBP 141.03 DKK DKK 16.81
NOK NOK 12.93 SEK SEK 12.62
CHF CHF 108.75 JPY JPY 0.94

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