Iceland PM on no-confidence vote: “Bring it on!”
Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson is not worried about an impending vote of no confidence and hopes his opponents will not “chicken out” of bringing one forward.
Opposition parties in the Icelandic parliament (‘Alþingi’) are reportedly in talks on moving a vote of no-confidence against the PM, following revelations that one of the companies claiming millions from Iceland’s crashed banks is owned by none other than his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir.
The PM's wife owns a company based in the well-known offshore tax haven of Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Photo: Wikipedia/Henry aw
Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson categorically insists that he was under no legal or moral obligation to officially disclose information of his wife’s offshore assets. Indeed, under Icelandic law, no MP is obliged to declare any details of their spouse’s assets or interests.
Despite that, there are voices in Icelandic politics and society demanding answers – and even the PM’s resignation or fresh elections.
The PM is coming under increasing pressure regarding the business interests of his wife. Photo: mbl.is/Eva Björk
Former PM Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir has recently stated on social media that if Gunnlaugsson is unable to regain trust, then he will have no choice but to resign.
“It would be more sensible for the PM’s party members to advise him to be honest with his country and party and give a straightforward account of all the facts of the matter,” says Sigurðardóttir, who was PM of Iceland 2009-13.
Head of deCODE genetics Kári Stefánsson goes even further in an open letter to Gunnlaugsson in today’s Morgunblaðið newspaper titled ‘Prime Minister, it’s time for you to go’.
“It is completely unacceptable for the nation to now find out that the man at the head of the government hammering out a deal with claimants [of the bankrupt banks’ assets] is actually himself one of the claimants,” Stefánsson writes. “There’s no point saying that the assets are your wife’s, not yours.”
Gunnlaugsson remains bullish in the face of current criticism, including an online petition demanding his resignation which is approaching 10,000 signatures.
Speaking on Icelandic radio on Sunday, the PM said he was not worried about the no-confidence vote expected after the Easter recess and reiterated that he has not broken any laws or moral rules.
He also rejected claims that his wife’s money is hidden away in a ‘tax haven’ (the British Virgin Islands). “It is not a tax haven if all assets are declared in the home country as my wife has done,” he explained.