Committee Chair Surprised at Independents’ Anger Skip to content

Committee Chair Surprised at Independents’ Anger

Left-Green MP Atli Gíslason, who chaired the parliamentary committee on the Special Investigative Report which concluded that four former ministers should be charged for negligence in office, said he is surprised at the Independence Party’s anger that their former leader, Geir H. Haarde, who was prime minister at the time of the banking collapse, will be taken to High Court.

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Atli Gíslason addresses the parliament during voting on Tuesday. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

Gíslason told Fréttabladid it raises questions as to whether another outcome of the voting had been agreed upon beforehand. “I had expected all of the parliamentary resolutions to be declined, truth be told.”

“But then it didn’t happen and the Independents became incredibly angry and I ask myself: Why are they so angry? Did they expect a different outcome? Had they made a different deal? The incredible anger surprised me. They spoke as if some people had ran away from some sort of agreement,” Gíslason said.

When asked whether it is right for Haarde to be taken to High Court, Gíslason replied: “I once thought to myself: Four, all or no one. It is common in criminal cases that the ringleader is charged but the others aren’t—not that I want to make a direct connection with this case.”

“What I find noteworthy is that seven ministers from the so-called collapse government, who are either ministers now or regular parliamentarians, all voted against the court case. Their impenetrable and sincere solidarity was decisive in the outcome,” Gíslason said.

“I would have thought it natural, according to unregistered rules on competence and other values that I have adapted as a lawyer, that they should either have called in substitutes or abstained,” Gíslason commented.

He said the remarks of Haarde and former Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir about his and the committee’s work are undeserved. “I can take a blow but I’m not especially happy when those who have been working for the committee, specialists and others, are being slammed.”

Gísladóttir has criticized the parliament’s voting in the cases of the four former ministers, herself included. “I find this outcome involves a political resignation. It as if MPs believe they can settle complicated political matters of opinion by filing charges,” she said.

“I’m of the opinion that no one should have been charged and therefore it is not at all acceptable that Althingi decided to file charges against Geir [H. Haarde] alone,” she concluded.

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