Ethics Rules for the President - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Ethics Rules for the President

Published April 28, 2010

The Icelandic government intends to create ethics guidelines for the office of the presidency, in light of harsh criticism of how current president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson allegedly used his office in the time leading up to the economic crash.
According to sources close to Vísir, the guidelines would specify how the president may and may not interact with other nations, and provide a more clearly defined role for the office itself. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir told reporters that among the changes to the office that she’d like to see, she believes the president’s power to veto should be removed. In its place, she would rather the people themselves decide when a piece of legislation should be up for public referendum.
The president has twice now used his veto powers – once in 2004, regarding a media bill proposed by conservatives, and again earlier this year, regarding the Icesave law that was subsequently defeated in referendum.
The Special Investigative Commission’s (SIC) report said, among other things, that it believed the president went out of his way to tout Icelandic venture capitalists as being sound and solvent businessmen, painting a cosmetically enhanced portrait of economic conditions within the country for the rest of the world, and using his office to personally help some of these businessmen start up financial projects in Europe and beyond.
The president has dismissed all criticism as either off-base or inaccurate. He has more recently said that he doesn’t see the need for ethics guidelines for the office of the presidency.


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