From Iceland — Former PM Meets Supporters At Harpa

Former PM Meets Supporters At Harpa

Published June 8, 2011

Former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, currently on trial for his part in the 2008 economic collapse, greeted supporters yesterday at a meeting held at Harpa music hall.
As Grapevine reported, last September, parliament voted in favour of charging Haarde with negligence and mismanagement for his part in the 2008 banking collapse. Haarde has repeatedly maintained that he is innocent, and did so as well yesterday, on the first day of his trial.
Haarde has attracted a number of supporters, most of them conservative but some hailing from other parties as well. Both Haarde and those defending him have maintained that this is a political trial; not a criminal one. Supporters have added furthermore that Haarde is being singled out and scapegoated.
Haarde met with supporters yesterday at the Harpa music hall, where – as the accompanying image shows – he was greeted warmly by former Independence Party chairman and former Fréttablaðið editor Þórsteinn Pálsson. Speaking to the crowd, Haarde said it made him glad to see people from different parties turning out to support him. He also maintained that the economic decisions he made while in office were the right ones.
The report of the Special Investigative Commission (SIC), however, contended that Haarde was woefully unaware of anything going on at the Central Bank, and that he was frankly terrified of then Central Bank chairman and current Morgunblaðið editor Davíð Oddsson.
“We will win this case,” Haarde told supporters yesterday. He also said that he often bumps into the MPs who voted in favour of pressing charges, who then – possibly out of politeness – try to greet him in a friendly way, which he takes issue with. “They have demanded a two-year prison term for me. And they think they can just walk up to me and kiss and hug me like it’s no thing. ‘No, sir,’ I tell those women who try.”

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