Pedophile scandal brings down Iceland's government

Government meltdown hits Icelandic crown

Government meltdown hits Icelandic crown

The Reykjavik Grapevine reports that Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson was convicted of having repeatedly raped his daughter over 12 years while she was a child & teenager.

"I have never considered the restored honor as anything except a legal procedure making it possible for convicted criminals to regain some civil rights", Sveinsson said.

Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson's Independence Party was left with only a one-seat majority after last October's election, and was forced to form a coalition with two other parties: the Bright Future party and the Independence Party.

"The board of Bright Future has made a decision to terminate cooperation with the government of Bjarni Benediktsson", the party said in a statement.

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The outgoing party accused Benediktsson of failing to inform the government that his father had signed a letter to help a convicted paedophile have his criminal record expunged after serving five and a half years in prison.

"But in this situation there is nothing else to do except to have an election and I will do my utmost so that elections will take place as soon as possible", Benediktsson said, as quoted by the Iceland Monitor media outlet. The country suffered through years of economic upheaval after its debt-swollen banks collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis but now is experiencing a tremendous surge in tourism by those eager to see its pristine glaciers, fjords and waterfalls and the Northern Lights. The previous government was felled by the Panama Papers scandal over offshore tax havens.

The news knocked more than 1 per cent off the value of the Icelandic crown against the euro and the USA dollar.

Benediktsson said the country should hold elections in November. "The reason for the split is a serious breach of trust within the government".

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All that is required for "restoring honour" is a letter of recommendation from a close friend.

The move comes after he was abandoned by his coalition partners, the four-lawmaker Bright Future, and the Reform Party, which has eight legislators.

The Ministry of Justice, under Sigridur Andersen, a member of Mr Benediktsson's Independence Party, initially refused to disclose who had written the letter of recommendation.

Iceland's justice minister reportedly informed the prime minister about his father's support for the molester in July and he had kept it hidden until a parliamentary committee brought the case forward.

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