After the economic collapse in Iceland, the exchange between members of Althingi, Iceland’s parliament, has often been ferocious.
Yesterday Thráinn Bertelsson, author and independent member of Althingi, apologized to the nation for being part of the sad farce that took place in the parliament chambers that day.
According to Bertelsson, Althingi is stuck in mutual accusations and hatred, visir.is reports. “The political parties are putting the nation in a heap of manure and confirm their own inability to save the nation from the problems they have subjected it to.”
Althingi. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review
Bertelsson made the statement after a bitter exchange of words between members of Althingi at the beginning of a session.
Björn Valur Gíslason, a member of the Left Green Party and government supporter, asked Sigurdur Kári Kristjánsson of the opposition Independence Party if he was in any way connected to the British law firm Mishcon de Reya.
The company had worked for Althingi and was paid 22 million ISK (170 thousand USD, 140 thousand Euros) for providing legal advice on the Icesave case.
Kristjánsson said that the words of Gíslason contained disgraceful accusations. He had no relation to the law firm. He said: “I don’t understand why Icelandic politics need to stoop to the level [Björn Valur Gíslason] has dragged it down to. … He should be ashamed and apologize.”
Many members of the opposition condemned Gíslason’s allegations. Some demanded that the President of Althingi reprimand the member for his words.
Sitting President of the Left Green Party, Árni Thór Sigurdsson, declared that Gíslason had put forward a query which did not contain any finger pointing. No other supporters of the coalition government took part in the exchange.
In the end Gíslason did apologize: “If my words have offended the respected member of Althingi, I apologize. I simply asked some questions and I got answers to them. Isn’t that OK?”