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LONDON: Icelandic PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has resigned in wake of Panama Papers scandal said his party.
This is the first major political casualty to emerge from the leak of the so-called Panama Papers financial documents. “The prime minister told (his party’s) parliamentary group meeting that he would step down as prime minister and I will take over,” the Progressive party’s deputy leader and Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson told a live broadcast.
Iceland’s prime minister had earlier asked the country’s President on Tuesday to dissolve parliament in the face of a looming no-confidence vote and protests, after leaked files showed his wife owned an offshore firm with big claims on the country’s collapsed banks.
After a meeting with Prime Minister, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he had asked for talks with the main parties before making a decision. Dissolving parliament would almost certainly lead to a new election. “I was not ready to agree to that request (for dissolving parliament) until I had a discussions with the leaders of other parties on their stand,” Grimsson told reporters. “I do not think it is normal that the prime minister alone … should be given the authority to dissolve the parliament without the majority of the parliament being satisfied with that decision.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Gunnlaugsson said on his Facebook page: “I would dissolve parliament and call for new elections as soon as possible” if he lost support among his ruling coalition members.
On Monday, the opposition filed a motion of no-confidence and thousands of Icelanders gathered in front of parliament, hurling eggs and bananas and demanding the departure of the leader of the centre-right coalition government, in power since 2013.
Gunnlaugsson is the first casualty of the “Panama Papers” a leaked collection of documents revealing the financial arrangements of politicians and public figures from around the world.