Panama Papers: Iceland's prime minister steps down
Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson stepped down on Tuesday after his name appeared in the Panama Papers. Prior to his resignation thousands of people had demonstrated and called for him to step down. Commentators agree that it was the right thing for him to do.
Embarassing manoeuvres in Reykjavík
Although legally Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson may not have anything to fear his behaviour is untenable in the context of Nordic values, the centre-right daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung believes:
“Compared with the high moral standards in the Nordic countries Iceland is an extreme case: the fact that the prime minister has even come under suspicion of committing tax fraud is unforgivable for a politician in view of recent events. Gunnlaugsson committed the fatal mistake of ignoring popular sensitivities by not makig his financial affairs sufficiently transparent. What aggravates his case is that rather than drawing the appropriate conclusions he is clinging to his office with the most embarrassing manoeuvres. To maintain the country's credibility a change of government is indispensable.”
Icelanders are braver than the Greeks
Thousands of Icelanders demonstrated on Monday demanding Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson's resignation. Blogger Pitsirikos admires the Icelanders' reaction to the scandal:
“Iceland went bankrupt in 2008 - shortly before Greece. It's worthwhile comparing how the two nations reacted: the Icelanders overturned the decisions that others had made for them through demonstrations and a referendum. They created a new constitution while the prime minister at the time was put on trial, as will now happen with the prime minister who has just resigned. … The Icelanders fight for their country, for their lives, for their democracy. The Greeks don't even fight for themselves. The Icelanders went out into the cold to demonstrate and force their prime minister to resign. Six years after the bankruptcy the Greeks have Tsipras, who betrayed them, as their prime minister.”