Bjarni Benediktsson Sits for Last Parliamentary Session as Finance Minister Skip to content
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Photo: Golli.

Bjarni Benediktsson Sits for Last Parliamentary Session as Finance Minister

A session of Alþingi convened today at 10:30 to direct questions at the outgoing Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, regarding his recent decision to step down from office.

However, Bjarni was not directly addressed by any parliament member, RÚV reports. Instead, the session was used to discuss the nature and consequences of his resignation, with some members of the opposition being especially outspoken in their criticism.

Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, Resigns from Office

Bjarni Benediktsson is an Icelandic politician and businessman who served as Minister of Finance for some 10 years, with a break to briefly serve as Prime Minister in 2017. Since 2009, he has also headed the Independence Party. However, Bjarni has found himself embroiled in many scandals throughout his political career, including his involvement in the Vafningur ehf. case, his appearance in the Panama Papers, and most recently, the sale of Íslandsbanki shares. Such associations have earned Bjarni the popular epithet “Teflon.”

His decision to step down from office came in the wake of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s opinion that his handling of the March 2022 sale of Íslandsbanki shares was unsatisfactory. However, the possibility of a new role for Bjarni in government has some critics concerned that his resignation is, in fact, simply “changing seats.”

New Ministerial Role for Bjarni a Possibility

Fellow Independence Party member Jón Gunnarsson, former Minister of Justice, stated that the recent resignation represented the good functioning of the governing coalition. The former minister expressed his satisfaction with how Bjarni had reacted to the report, indicating that there will indeed be changes coming, but that the first steps taken have been positive.

Some ministers have been less optimistic about Bjarni’s recent resignation. Þorbjörg Sigríður Gunnlaugsdóttir, Reform Party MP,  expressed her concern that another ministerial seat awaited Bjarni. Stating that the “humility of the day” was over, she suspected that Bjarni is heading for a post as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

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