Iceland Government Faces Breakup as Coalition Partner Quits

Iceland’s center-right coalition is headed for a breakup after a key member quit the government -- and a second called for new elections -- amid a scandal involving the prime minister’s father.
The four-lawmaker Bright Future party announced late on Thursday in Reykjavik that it was leaving the three-party coalition less than a year after it was formed. The government led by Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s Independence Party has only a one-seat majority in parliament.
Bjarni Benediktsson
Photographer: Arnaldur Haldorsson/Bloomberg
Hours later, the Reform Party, which has eight legislators, called for new elections as soon as possible, citing “strong feelings” regarding the scandal.
The Bright Future party accused the premier of committing a “breach of trust” after failing to inform the rest of the government that his father had written a letter vouching for the character of a convicted child molester so he could apply for a legal “clean slate.” The issue that two child molesters had been given such a clean slate has been much in the news in Iceland, where convicted pedophiles can apply to have their record expunged to be allowed to work in some jobs.
“That goes against our policies here at Bright Future on transparency and a good way of working,” said Ottarr Proppe, head of the Bright Future party. 
The Independence Party hadn’t issued any statements as of 5 a.m. Friday. The prime minister’s office didn’t immediately respond to calls for comment outside of normal business hours.
The coalition that is now imperiled was formed in January after two months of negotiations as the Independence Party, which resisted a challenge from the populist Pirate Party to win the most votes in an Oct. 29 snap elections, replaced its traditional coalition party, the Progressive Party, with the two new junior allies. It controls 32 seats in the 63-member parliament.
Iceland called a snap election last year following the resignation of Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, the most high-profile casualty of the so-called Panama Papers.
Iceland Government Faces Breakup as Coalition Partner Quits Iceland Government Faces Breakup as Coalition Partner Quits Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 00:15:00 Rating: 5