Iceland PM calls for snap vote after government falls

17 September, 2017, 03:38 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson is bound to meet with the

Iceland's Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson on Friday called for a new parliamentary election after a junior coalition party made a decision to quit due to a "breach of trust" within the center-right government.

The prime minister told reporters: "We have lost the majority and I don't see anything that indicates we can regain it".

"It would not necessarily be a surprise if the prime minister wants to call an election", Baldur Thorhallsson, a political scientist at the University of Iceland, told Reuters.

Iceland will face its second snap election in about a year after the government collapsed over a scandal involving grants of clemency to convicted child molesters and the Prime Minister's father.

It was revealed on Thursday that Benediktsson's father signed a letter of recommendation so that a convicted pedophile would receive what in Iceland is called "restored honor", which effectively wipes the criminal record of a person who has served his or her sentence. She was later ordered to do so by a parliamentary committee.

Together the three parties held the slimmest of majorities — 32 of the 63 seats in parliament following the October 29 election, which was called after the former prime minister resigned amid protests over his offshore holdings that were revealed in the Panama Papers leak.

Benediktsson said the country should hold elections in November.

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In his statement of apology, Mr Sveinsson tried to explain his actions, saying that Hauksson had brought him an already drafted letter which he signed.

He had later informed the chairmen of the coalition parties, he said.

A letter of recommendation is among the requirements to apply for the process.

"This week, it came forth that my father had written a letter".

Capital Economics economist Stephen Brown said a change of government could frustrate plans to overhaul Iceland's monetary policy framework.

The central bank cut interest rates four times in the year to June to tame the crown. The strong currency is also hurting Iceland's exports.

When it emerged that some government officials had kept information from the public about a letter seeking to expunge Hauksson's record, the Bright Future Party said it was pulling out.

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