Iceland PM calls for snap vote after government falls

Iceland PM calls for snap vote after government falls

Iceland PM calls for snap vote after government falls

Iceland's Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson speaks during a press conference in Reykjavik, Iceland September 15, 2017.

"There is nothing else to do in Iceland but to let the voters (decide)", he added.

The scandal centres on a letter written by Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson's father to help an old friend convicted of sex offences against children have his criminal record expunged.

In 2004, Hjalti Sigurjon Hauksson was convicted of raping his stepdaughter nearly every day for 12 years, and sentenced to five years in the slammer.

The last government collapsed over the Panama Papers scandal that embroiled several ministers and forced former prime minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to resign. The previous government was felled by the Panama Papers scandal over offshore tax havens.

The outgoing government would be the shortest-living in Iceland's history.

Bright Future said earlier Friday that its executive committee "decided to terminate the cooperation with the government" because of a "serious breach of trust".

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Mr Benediktsson said the country should hold elections as soon as possible, preferably in November.

It is ultimately up to President Gudni Johannesson, whom Benediktsson was due to meet with on Saturday, to make the decision on a new election.

Mr Sveinsson has apologised for his actions, saying he had signed an already drafted letter. On Thursday, the media reported that not only Benediktsson's father had signed such letter, but that Benediktsson was aware of this fact, but did not tell other coalition members.

But Benediktsson neglected to inform Bright Future and Reform Party leaders of the letter until Monday, according to RUV.

The Prime Minister said on Friday he was "shocked" to hear of his father's letter and never tried to hide anything. Starting July, three cases of such recommendation letters granted to pedophiles have been disclosed, which have immediately triggered condemnation among the Icelandic society and calls for abolition of such practice.

"What was supposed to be a small gesture of good will towards a convicted criminal has instead turned into a continuation of the tragedy for his victim".

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