According to a new poll conducted by Market and Media Research, most Icelanders are in favor of seeing charges pressed against the four former ministers recommended by a parliamentary committee to stand trial for negligence.
As reported earlier this week, a parliamentary committee recommended that former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, former Minister of Finance Árni M. Mathiesen and former Minister of Business Björgvin G. Sigurðsson be taken before a national court, which would put them on trial for charges of negligence and mismanagement and, if found guilty, deliver a sentence that could include prison time.
Overall, across party lines, 66.3% were either very supportive of or rather supportive of Árni standing trial; 64.2% were either very supportive of or rather supportive of Geir standing trial; 60.4% were either very supportive of or rather supportive of Ingibjörg standing trial and 51.8% were either very supportive of or rather supportive of Björgvin standing trial.
Broken down by party affiliation, the figures change.
People who ally themselves with the Independence Party – from which Geir and Árni hail – were the least in favor of anyone facing a court hearing, and ranked will below the general average. Progressives were slightly more in favor of such a trial than the general average. Social Democrats, while being a great deal more in favor of conservatives facing trial than the general average, were considerably less in favor of the same for fellow Social Dems Ingibjörg and Björgvin. Leftist-Greens ranked the highest of anyone affiliated with a party when it came to who was most in favor of seeing all four former ministers facing charges. However, highest of all were those who said they intended to vote outside of the “big four”.
Parliament has yet to make a decision on whether or not to hold a trial, let alone when it will be. A national court of this nature has never been called together since its establishment in 1905. According to Icelandic law, the maximum sentence a minister can be charged for violating the code of conduct for office is two years.
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