From Iceland — Former Ministers Should Resign

Former Ministers Should Resign

Published April 19, 2010

After conservative vice chairperson Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir resigned from the position and former Foreign Minister Social Democrat Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir has publicly expressed regret for her part in the banking collapse of 2008, political scientists are now saying that all ministers of the previous government should resign from office – not just take a temporary leave without pay.
The first to step down was Social Democrat MP Björgvin G. Sigurðsson, who had previously resigned as Minister of Business shortly after the banking collapse, last Thursday. The following day, conservative MP Illugi Gunnarsson did the same. Both took temporary leaves of absence without pay.
Over the weekend, Gunnarsdóttir resigned as vice chairperson of the Independence Party and also took a temporary leave of absence, while at the same time Gísladóttir tearfully apologized to a packed house for her role in the collapse.
Stefán Einar Stefánsson, an expert on business ethics at the University of Reykjavík, does not believe this is enough.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” he told Vísir. “People have been asking whether those who were ministers during the banking collapse, and are still ministers today, should resign from their posts.” This would be Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister of Transportation Kristján Möller, and Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.
Silja Bára Ómarsdóttir, a professor at the university of Iceland, placed more attention on MPs, saying, “You naturally want to see more people taking a real step and see them resign from office. Not just take a temporary leave; actually resign and then run again if they feel.” She adds that there are very few examples of politicians admitting their mistakes and resigning.
Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former chairman of the now defunct People’s Party and himself a former minister of finance and foreign affairs, has gone so far as to say conservative chairman Bjarni Benediktsson should resign altogether. Benediktsson, for his part, has said that he will not – despite the economic crash report bringing to light that Benediktsson accepted gifts from Glitnir on more than one occasion.

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