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Iceland

Yearbook 2016

Iceland. When the so-called Panama documents were leaked to international media in April, it was revealed that Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson had links to a mailbox company in the British Virgin Islands tax haven. He was accused of tax evasion but defended himself by his wife being the owner of the company. The Minister of Finance and the Minister of Internal Affairs also proved to have links to companies in tax havens. All claimed that they taxed for their profits, but the opposition said that the Icelandic authorities could not check if there was a tax evasion.

2016 Iceland

According to countryaah, the opposition demanded the Prime Minister's resignation and new election. Thousands of Icelanders gathered outside the Parliament with the same demands. The confidence of the politicians was very low already, only 17% had expressed confidence in Parliament in a survey.

The revelations sparked a fight in the coalition, and Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson of the Progress Party threatened his coalition partner the Independence Party with fresh elections if he did not receive the party's support. But when the Prime Minister asked President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to dissolve Parliament, he got no. Then Gunnlaugsson chose to step down. The opposition still demanded new elections, and outside the Parliament, the protests grew to over 20,000 protesters. According to a survey, support for the opposition party Pirate Party increased to a sensational 43% (5% in the last election).

The Progressive Party's Deputy Party Leader, Agriculture Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson was appointed new Prime Minister, and the Government decided that new elections should be held this fall. The protesters in Reykjavík demanded that the entire government resign, and the Pirate Party, which wanted rapid re-election, requested a vote of no confidence in the government. However, the coalition won the vote in Alltinget.

After the veteran Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson's five terms as president in June, a politically independent successor, history professor Guðni Jóhannesson, was elected in June, winning the election by just over 39% of voters. In second place came the businesswoman Halla Tómasdóttir. The new president saw as his main task to restore confidence in the political system affected by a series of scandals and crises.

Ahead of the Progress Party's Congress in October, the party was shaken by internal conflict where the new Prime Minister Jóhannsson challenged the resigned Gunnlaugsson head of government over the party leadership. Jóhannsson was charged with treason but won the party leadership election at the congress with 370 votes against 329 for Gunnlaugsson. It was the first time in more than seven decades that a party leader had been voted out. Then came accusations that the election was manipulated and that delegates who did not have the right to vote participated. Jóhannsson rejected the charges.

Ahead of the Allings elections in October, the Pirate Party led the public in its demand for increased direct democracy with decisive referendums. The party also wanted to strengthen social welfare by raising taxes. But at the end of the electoral movement, the ruling Independence Party (D) went public and became clearly the largest in the election. The party increased from 19 to 21 seats, the Left-Green (V) went up to 10 seats and the Pirate Party tripled but also stayed for 10 seats, clearly less than the party hoped for. The major loser of the election became the Progress Party, which lost more than half of its mandate and stayed on 8. Prime Minister Jóhannsson resigned.

Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson (D) was commissioned to form a new government but failed. The task then went to V leader Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who in November started talks with several parties without being able to form a coalition. The president passed the assignment on to Pirate Party leader Birgitta Jónsdóttir, but she too failed.

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