Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Iceland PM resigns

Iceland PM resigns following Panama Papers leak – media

Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has been seen running from the country's parliament, with some reports suggesting the politician has resigned.
5 April, 2016

The PM held a meeting at the parliament on Tuesday, where he announced his decision, local media reported.

The resignation still needs the approval of his coalition Independence Party and President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.

The news of the PM's departure was delivered to the press by Minister of Agriculture and Fishing Sigurour Ingi Johannsson, who is reportedly in line to take over the position, according to the Financial Times.

Gunnlaugsson first tried to seek the dissolution of parliament, but his request was turned down by President Grimsson.

PM running out of the parliament. News expected soon.

The Icelandic politician is believed to be the first victim of the massive offshore holdings leak known as the Panama Papers. According to the revelations, Gunnlaugsson concealed millions of dollars worth of family assets when he and his wife set up a company in the British Virgin Islands, reportedly in an attempt to evade paying taxes.

In the light of the massive leak, Iceland's left-wing opposition has presented a motion of no confidence in the center-right coalition government headed by Gunnlaugsson.

Thousands of people took to the streets in the capital Reykjavik on Monday, demanding impeachment and new elections. The protest in front of the parliament was said to be the biggest in the country's history, with more mass demonstrations having been planned for later on Tuesday.

Earlier on Monday, Gunnlaugsson told the parliament he would not resign amid the protests linked to his alleged financial affairs, which potentially represent a conflict of interest.

"I have not considered quitting because of this matter nor am I going to quit because of this matter," the PM told parliament, as quoted by AP. The defiant politician then added that his government "has had good results... and it is important that [it] can finish its work."

Another resignation linked to the leaked data was announced this week, when a regional head of Transparency International, an organization that seeks to monitor and root out corporate and political corruption worldwide, stepped down. Gonzalo Delaveau, the president of the NGO’s Chilean branch, has resigned, Reuters reported. Although he was not directly implicated in illegal activity by the Panama Papers, the documents showed Delaveau was linked to at least five offshore companies.

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