Excerpt of “Klaustur Tapes” to be Performed by Theatre Group

Gunnar Bragi and Sigmundur Davíð

A portion of the conversation that was recorded between Centre and People’s Party MPs will be performed as a dramatic reading by actors at the Reykjavík City Theatre, RÚV reports. The reading will take place on Monday, December 3 and will be free and open to the public.

Doors will open at 8.00pm and seating will be first come, first serve. However, if the theatre fills, the performance will be streamed live for overflow guests in the lobby. The performance will also be streamed live on the City Theatre website.

Bergur Þór Ingólfsson will direct the reading, which – perhaps pointedly, given the misogynist content of the recordings – will flip the genders of the original speakers and be performed by five women and one man.

In its announcement about the performance, the institution notes that one of the primary functions of theatre is to bring attention to current events and timely issues. With this reading, the theatre aims to examine the responsibility of elected officials in a democratic context.

Protests Outside Alþingi on Iceland’s Centenary

Iceland observed its centenary as an independent, sovereign nation on Saturday, December 1, an occasion that was marked not only by celebrations and cultural events all over the country, but also protests in front of Alþingi. RÚV reports that protesters gathered to demand that the six MPs embroiled in the “Klaustur Affair” be held accountable for the misogynistic comments and backroom dealings that came to light in a recently published series of recordings.

“This is one way to show your dissatisfaction,” protestor Þorgrímur Kári Snævarr told reporters. “The most direct one and, in reality, a great way to celebrate the centenary. When you think about it, you could say that [Icelandic] sovereignty has been built upon the words ‘Vér mótmælum allir,’ [‘We all protest’].” Another protester was very clear about what she wanted to come of the protests: “We don’t want these people, with these opinions, in the Icelandic parliament,” stated Sólrún Halldórsdóttir.

Late last week, several recordings were made public in which six MPs from the Centre and People’s Parties – including former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and former Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinnson – are heard to make misogynistic comments about female colleagues. Gunnar Bragi was also recorded talking about how he’d successfully managed to appoint former Prime Minister Geir Haarde, who was convicted of misconduct in office in the leadup to Iceland’s financial crisis, to a high-profile ambassadorial position by using distraction tactics. He stated that the appointment was a political favour to high-ranking Independence Party MPs, such as Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson, and that he expected to be rewarded for the gesture with an ambassadorial position himself one day.

Since the recordings were made public, all of the individuals present during the conversation have issued apologies. People’s Party MPs Karl Gauti Hjaltason and Ólafur Ísleifsson were also expelled from their party – unsurprising, perhaps, as one of the female MPs insulted by name in the recorded conversation was People’s Party chair Inga Sæland. However, none of the MPs have made any move to resign.

As part of the centenary celebrations on Saturday, Alþingi was open to the public. And so, at the end of the protest, organizer Alexandra Kristjana Ægisdóttir took the opportunity to hand-deliver a list of demands to Alþingi speaker Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. “We’re delivering these to you on behalf of the people,” said Alexandra. “These are the people’s demands that have been expressed in discussions on Facebook and all throughout society. We demand that you take action on this because you are all elected individuals and you work for us.”

Steingrímur thanked Alexandra for delivering the list of demands and said they would be presented to the full parliament during a meeting on Monday. “I expect that you will hear more on Alþingi’s response on the matter at the beginning of the meeting on Monday.”

Iceland Must Reduce Greenhouse Emissions by 29%

Iceland needs to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 29% compared to what they were in 2005, RÚV reports. This reduction will be in service of the Paris Agreement, which Iceland and Norway both cosigned with the European Union.

Under the terms of the agreement, as of 2030, European Union nations will reduce their carbon emissions by 40% (based on the levels they were in 1990). Although not part of the European Union, Iceland has ratified the agreement on the understanding that the country will reduce its emissions by a fiscally responsible and manageable percentage. It has now been determined that Iceland only needs to reduce emissions by 29% (based on 2005 levels) by 2030.

Per the announcement on the government website, this percentage would be higher if the target goal were only based on the country’s per capita GDP. However, allowances were made for Iceland, as the country will have to accomplish its carbon emission reduction within sectors that also operate outside of European trade structures. As the announcement explains, “Iceland is thought to have a more restricted position than many other nations in regard to the practical benefits of reducing emissions.”

Despite this, Iceland has approved a climate change strategy that still seeks to reduce emissions by the Paris Agreement levels of 40%. Prime Minister Katrín Jakóbsdóttir has taken this goal even further, setting a goal of making the country entirely carbon neutral by 2040.