From Iceland — Prime Minister Confident In The Face Of No Confidence

Prime Minister Confident In The Face Of No Confidence

Published March 27, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Despite growing calls for his resignation, the Prime Minister says his position “has never been stronger”.

If Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð is worried about a no confidence proposal possibly being submitted against him, he showed few signs of it in an interview on radio station Bylgjan this morning.

In discussing the fallout from recent reveleations that his wife has kept millions bundled in a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, the Prime Minister contended that his position “has never been stronger”. Further, not only is he not concerned about a no confidence proposal; he welcomes it.

“This is quite an opportunity to talk about the achievements of this government,” he said. “What it has achieved, and comparing it to others, and what they have achieved.”

The Prime Minister’s self-confidence notwithstanding, sources close to Vísir report that the opposition are not the only ones considering a no confidence proposal. There have been grumbles within the Independence Party to possibly break the coalition, and even Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson has said the scandal is the Prime Minister’s alone to answer for.

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.

Sigmundur has been on the defensive since the news broke, denying interviews with numerous media outlets. He has said he was “under no ethical obligation” to inform parliament of the financial activities of his wife, despite said activities being in apparent complete contradiction with his own economic policies.

Parliament is currently on Easter holiday, and so whether a no confidence proposal will go forward still remains to be seen.

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