Panama Papers – three months on
As an entire nation tuned in last night to watch their national football team play a historic quarter-final match in Euro 2016, many may have been unaware that exactly three months to the day previously, the country was being thrown into extraordinary political turmoil.
Exactly three months before the boys in blue played the first half of their match against France – on the evening of 3 April – the Icelandic Kastljós current affairs programme was blowing the lid off one of the most damaging political controversies to hit Iceland in recent history.
The so-called ‘Panama Papers’ were a collection of millions of documents leaked from a Panamanian law film showing the involvement of influential people in off-shore tax havens.
The list of those connected with offshore companies included the Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.
Three months on, Iceland has a new Prime Minister, a new Foreign Affairs Minister, and has seen massive public demonstrations and a government pledge to hold general elections this autumn.
The scandal led to the downfall of Gunnlaugsson, a slew of negative foreign press attention, and a backlash of public anger on social media and in the streets of the capital Reykjavik.
The attention of many Icelanders has understandably been on France in recent weeks, but as the dust settles on Iceland’s Euro 2016 adventure, minds will return to the domestic situation ahead.
The Panama Papers scandal led to the resignation of the Prime Minister. Photo: Iceland Monitor/Eggert Jóhannesson
There is as yet no specific date for general elections. According to latest polls, the Pirate Party seem set to explode into Iceland’s Parliament (possibly with the highest number of MPs) and no obvious two-party coalition seems possible.
Iceland has been in the spotlight of the world’s attention in recent weeks for their remarkable sporting exploits. As the summer wears on, it is not unlikely that Iceland will continue to be of international interest for its political and social developments.