Davíð Oddsson, Foreign Minister of Iceland and former Prime Minister, announced today at a press conference his decision to leave politics. He will not seek re-election as chairman of the Icelandic Independence Party after the party's biannual general meeting in October. He will also step down as Foreign Minister and MP on September 27 and instead become president of the Icelandic Central Bank. The vice-chairman of the party and current Finance Minister, Geir H. Haarde, will become Foreign Minister in his place.
Oddsson said to journalists that he had been in the line of fire in Icelandic politics for a long time as they all knew and he had decided that it was a time to step aside. Oddsson served as Prime Minister of Iceland for more than 13 years, from May 1991 until September last year when he became Foreign Minister. Before that he was mayor of Reykjavík from 1982 to 1991 and city councilor from 1974 to 1994. He is the longest serving PM in the history of Iceland and one of the longest serving PMs in Europe.
It is highly unlikely, and actually as good as impossible, that Oddsson's resignation will affect the policy of the Independence Party towards the EU in any way since that policy does not stand and fall with him. Opposition to EU membership is widespread within the party in all ranks of it.