[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]P[/dropcap]anama Papers claimed its first political victim. The Prime Minister of Iceland has submitted his resignation, following protests by the people of Iceland.
A mass protest planned in Reykjavik later on Tuesday turned into a celebration party as Icelanders vented their fury on the outgoing Prime Minister following revelations that he had once possessed – and his wife continues to own – a secret offshore investment business with multimillion-pound claims on Iceland’s failed banks.
Sigurthur Ingi Johannsson, the agriculture and fisheries minister, told state broadcaster RUV that he would be replacing him and that Gunnlaugsson was stepping down as prime minister. Gunnlaugsson will, nevertheless, stay on as the head of his Progressive Party, Johannsson said.
The move requires the acceptance of both Gunnlaugsson’s junior coalition partner, the rightwing Independence party, and Iceland’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson. It was not immediately clear how a country’s other parliamentary parties would respond. Early elections could still be a chance.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]y requesting to dissolve parliament and call new elections, the prime minister, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, had earlier sought to stay in office. But the prime minister apparently suggested himself that he step down and met with senior Progressive party officials, after the president turned him down.
As the island’s political crisis deepened finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson, the Independence party leader, was in urgent talks on Tuesday evening with Grimsson, who flew back early from the US to sound out the parliamentary party representatives in Iceland.
Benediktsson, whose name also appeared in the leaked documents in connection using an Seychelles-based business of which a third was possessed by him, returned early from holiday in Florida on Tuesday. He’d pointedly declined to back Gunnlaugsson on Monday, saying the outflows were a “heavy blow” to the government.
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