Ice­land’s govt col­lapses amid pae­dophile scan­dal

The Star Malaysia - - World -

COPEN­HAGEN: Ice­land’s ninemonth-old, cen­tre-right gov­ern­ment col­lapsed af­ter a small coali­tion mem­ber quit and the coun­try’s prime min­is­ter called for a new elec­tion “as soon as pos­si­ble,” ac­cord­ing to Ice­landic me­dia.

The cen­trist Bright Fu­ture Party quit over an at­tempt by the prime min­is­ter’s fa­ther to help clear a con­victed pae­dophile’s name.

It said in a Face­book post that there was “a se­ri­ous breach of trust” be­hind its de­par­ture.

Prime Min­is­ter Bjarni Benedik­ts­son took of­fice in Jan­uary with his In­de­pen­dence Party, the Re­form Party and the cen­trists.

To­gether the three par­ties held the slimmest of ma­jori­ties – 32 of the 63 seats in par­lia­ment fol­low­ing the Oct 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.

The Bright Fu­ture party has four seats in Ice­land’s par­lia­ment, the Althingi.

Benedik­ts­son’s fa­ther, Benedikt Sveins­son, had helped a con­victed child mo­lester ap­ply for a clause within Ice­land’s ju­di­cial sys­tem al­low­ing a per­son who has served their sen­tence for a se­ri­ous crime to “re­store their hon­our” and seek em­ploy­ment again.

In 2004, Hjalti Sig­ur­jon Hauks­son was con­victed of rap­ing his step­daugh­ter al­most ev­ery day for 12 years and was sen­tenced to five years in prison.

When it came out that some gov­ern­ment mem­bers, in­clud­ing its head, had kept in­for­ma­tion from the pub­lic about a let­ter seek­ing to ex-purge Hauks­son’s record, the Bright Fu­ture party said it was quit­ting.

Benedik­ts­son is a for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter who was also named in the Panama Pa­pers as hav­ing held a stake in a Sey­chelles-based in­vest­ment com­pany.

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