From Iceland — Vote Of No Confidence In Discussion

Vote Of No Confidence In Discussion

Published March 21, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Patriot8790/Wikimedia Commons

Members of the opposition in parliament are in talks about putting forward a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister, in the wake of an offshore money scandal that has put him on the defensive.

Bright Future MP Róbert Marshall spoke candidly with RÚV about the current scandal surrounding Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, whose wife has been keeping an undisclosed amount of family money in a company, located in the British Virgin Islands, which is one of the claimants against Iceland’s fallen banks.

“We’re in a situation now where we have a Prime Minister who – while the people of this country deal with capital controls – has reserve funds offshore. Who speaks of a currency for all the people, which he says is the best currency in the world, while he keeps his own assets in a foreign currency. And who creates this farce that this isn’t in his financial interests, but just his wife’s, when everybody knows that this isn’t the case.”

Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, an MP for the Pirate Party, added that he believes it is “unthinkable” that the Prime Minister finishes his term in light of this development. In fact, sources close to RÚV say a vote of no confidence is being discussed between all opposition parties.

These parties are still waiting to have their questions about the case answered by the Prime Minister, who has been decidedly tight-lipped about the situation. Last week, he wrote a lengthy post to his blog on the matter, wherein he emphasised that his wife has not done anything illegal. At the same time, he said that he would not be discussing his wife’s financial matters with the media.

As reported, Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, the wife of Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, made a post to Facebook revealing that she has been keeping an undisclosed amount of family inheritance money in a company called Wintris Inc. This money is kept in the British Virgin Islands, a popular tax haven, but Anna contends that the Icelandic tax office is well aware of this money, and everything is completely legal and above board.

However, Wintris Inc. is also a claimant against Landsbanki Íslands, Glitnir and Kaupthing to the tune of about half a billion ISK. Furthermore, Kjarninn has repeatedly asked for information regarding assets owned by government officials or members of their family that are being kept overseas, to no avail.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly advocated for the strength of the indexed Icelandic króna and the importance of keeping assets within the country. In addition, he has also repeatedly described bank claimants as “vultures” who are potentially damaging to the Icelandic economy.

The issue has sparked considerable criticism within parliament, and RÚV now reports that Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson has disavowed any knowledge that the Prime Minister’s wife was a claimant, telling reporters that the whole controversy is something he needs to answer for on his own.

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