Central Bank Chairman Davíð Oddsson, who was asked by Prime Minister
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir to resign, has formally refused the request,
saying that he “enjoys his job”. Sigurðardóttir said she was “very
disappointed” and that this news underlines that it is imperative to
change the Central Bank infrastructure “as soon as possible”.
Oddsson, responding in a letter of his own and published on the Central Bank website, contends that “it is obvious that this letter [from Sigurðardóttir] was written outside of the ministry, possibly in a party office or elsewhere. This is completely out of step with letters to appointed officials. … I was appointed 20 October 2005 to work for a pre-determined length of time. I have tried to do this job as best as I can. I enjoy it, and no one has been able to find anything of substance to criticise about my performance.”
Sigurðardóttir, in response, told Morgunblaðið, “The Prime Minister will not respond to individual details in [Oddsson’s] letter, and will continue the work of renewing the public trust in the financial system of this country. The bill that the majority coalition to parliament submitted regarding organizational and command structure changes of the Central is important and urgent to be passed as quickly as possible.”
Protestors gathered in front of the Central Bank this morning, and are expected to continue throughout the day, if not in the days to come.
Oddsson’s performance as Central Bank chairman has been under fire, and many have criticized him as being a key reason for Iceland’s financial collapse. This charge became much more prominent after Oddsson stated on the roundtable discussion television show Kastljósið that Icelandic banks probably wouldn’t be able to cover the money invested in IceSave – a comment which exacerbated a financial panic.
Oddsson told a Danish newspaper last year that if he were forced to leave the Central Bank, that he would in all likelihood run for office again.