A press release distributed to international media earlier tonight reveals that Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has in fact not resigned his position as Prime Minister, as was stated earlier today, but will be temporarily relieved by the Vice Chairman and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, “for an unspecified amount of time”.
This was revealed on Twitter moments ago by Richard Milne, a journalist for the Financial Times in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
Iceland PR emails to say PM did NOT resign but merely asked his deputy to be PM “for an unspecified amount of time” pic.twitter.com/RMLhjEVR9F
— Richard Milne (@rmilneNordic) April 5, 2016
Earlier tonight, Chairman of the Independence Party and Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson appeared on national television to address the current political situation, the allegations against Bjarni, and Sigmundur Davið’s resignation.
Bjarni made no mention of the Prime Minister’s resignation as being temporary. This is the latest in a series of events where apparent miscommunication and changes in story come up around the coalition government.
Yesterday saw Iceland’s biggest protest in history, with official counts showing around 23,000 attended. One of the main points of discontent is the discrepancy between Sigmundur Davíð’s economic policies and personal finances, and Sigurður Ingi is a decidedly unpopular option amongst the opposition and the general public alike.
Opposition parties have said they will continue to push for a dissolution of parliament and early elections.
For more on this continuing story, follow our Panama Papers tag on Grapevine.is/news.