From Iceland — MP Dares Opposition To Submit No Confidence Vote

MP Dares Opposition To Submit No Confidence Vote

Published March 22, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

An MP for the Progressive Party says a no confidence proposal against the Prime Minister will only strengthen his position, and the party as a whole has circled the wagons as the Prime Minister shields himself from criticism.

The Progressives as a whole have harshly criticised the pressure the opposition has been applying to Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson over the financial activities of his wife. Vísir reports that Progressive Party MP Þorsteinn Sæmundsson has taken the matter to the next level, encouraging the opposition to submit the no confidence proposal currently in discussion.

“If this is some matter of interest of theirs, and if they believe they can get this passed, then they are welcome to submit it,” he said. “It will only strengthen the position of the Prime Minister if people examine this case and the work he has done.”

As reported, the opposition is 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.

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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