Centre Party MP and chair Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson has taken an indefinite leave from parliament, RÚV reports. Gunnar Bragi is one of the six Centre and People’s Party MPs who were embroiled in the recent Klaustur Scandal, having been recorded making sexist, ableist, and homophobic remarks about parliamentary colleagues at Klaustur Bar in downtown Reykjavík. This is the second leave of absence that Gunnar Bragi has taken since the scandal broke, although no reason has yet been given for his current departure.
Gunnar Bragi did not answer calls from RÚV’s news agency on Friday to give an explanation for the leave, and nor did fellow Centre Party MP and former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. (Sigmundur Davíð was also involved in the Klaustur Scandal.) Anna Kolbrún Árnadóttir, another Centre Party MP involved in the Klaustur scandal, said that she didn’t know anything about her colleague’s leave of absence except that it is being taken for personal reasons.
Anna Kolbrún continued by saying that the decision had been a quick one and that the party hoped that the party’s alternate chair, Bergþór Ólason, would be taking over that position at the start of the coming week. Gunnar Bragi’s seat in parliament will presumably be taken over by one of the party’s alternate MPs, either Una María Óskarsdóttir or Þorgrímur Sigmundsson.
Gunnar Bragi’s previous voluntary leave of absence was taken from late November, after the Klaustur scandal broke, until late January 2019.