From Iceland — Wants Clearer Rules on the President's Powers

Wants Clearer Rules on the President’s Powers

Published April 26, 2010

Two former ministers, both from opposite ends of the political spectrum, believe that more clearly defined rules for the office of the presidency are needed, or the office of the presidency should be done away with altogether.
Svavar Gestsson, a social democrat and former minister of business, health and education at separate times, said on the radio show Sprengisandur that more defined regulations about the president’s role was needed – that it needed to be clearer whether or not the office is political, and in addition, parliament should decide whether to consider closing the office of the presidency altogether.
Former prime minister Þorsteinn Pálsson took much the same tone, adding that the president was not only mentioned but especially criticized for his part in the economic collapse.
“Our big problem is that parliament has established a committee to go over a breakdown of ethics in our society and the after-effects thereof. The head of state is one of the major players in [the Special Investigative Commission] report, and I don’t think any nation has ended up in a similar situation with a head of state. That’s a problem that we need to deal with.”
The SIC report specifically criticized the president for being one of the major cheerleaders of the “outvasion vikings” – venture capitalists whose loose business ethics helped destroy the Iceland economy – and for using his office to personally assist these businessmen in helping start businesses abroad. The president has dismissed all responsibility for the economic collapse, saying that many things in the report about him were inaccurate.

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