Panama Papers: Iceland calls elections six months early in wake of scandal

Iceland has announced early parliamentary elections triggered by the Panama Papers scandal that forced the prime minister to resign.

The trove of leaked documents revealing the vast extent of global tax evasion implicated several senior Icelandic politicians. Then-PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned after the leak in April, becoming the first major figure to fall from grace over the scandal. Rarely seen protests erupted on the streets but his government remained in place.

On Thursday his replacement, Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson: “We intend to hold the election on 29 October.

“Judging by how matters progressed in parliament this spring and summer, we expect that that will happen.”

Johannsson had asked the leaders of the parties represented in parliament to agree on a date – six months ahead of the scheduled election.

It is Iceland’s second election this year: in a presidential vote in June, political newcomer Gudni Johannesson became head of state after riding a wave of anti-establishment sentiment.

While Iceland has rarely seen the level of political outrage that saw people mass in the streets of the North Atlantic island for days in April, analysts say it’s difficult to tell which side has a higher chance of winning this time.

Conservative voters remain loyal to the ruling center-right’s coalition partner, the Independence party, recent opinion polls show.

In the opposition, the Pirate party, founded in 2012, will be campaigning on a radical ticket for more transparency, institutional reform and a clampdown on corruption.


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By Sydney Chesterfield on August 12, 2016 · Posted in Politics, Trends

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