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Government Coalition Disbanded

The government under Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has disbanded after eight months in power, RÚV reports. Björt Framtíð (Bright Future) decided to leave the governing coalition last night due to a serious breach of confidence between the party and the prime minister. The third party in the coalition, Viðreisn, would like an election as soon as possible.

The breach of confidence in question refers to new information in the case of Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson, convicted of paedophilia. Hjalti was granted “restored honour,” a legal procedure that effectively wipes his criminal record. Benedikt Sveinsson, Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s father, wrote the letter of recommendation for Hjalti’s record to be wiped.

Minister of Justice Sigríður Andersen stated in a press conference last night that she had informed Bjarni of his father’s letter in July. Bjarni neglected to inform Óttar Proppé and Benedikt Jóhannesson, chairmen of the other parties in the government coalition, about the letter until last Monday.

“The debate at the meeting led to the conclusion that there was a breach of confidentiality of such magnitude that this government coalition could not continue,” stated Guðlaug Kristjánsdóttir, chairman of the board of Björt Framtíð, after the board meeting last night.

The normal procedure following a disbanded government coalition is that the prime minister meets with the president in the following days to request a solution for the government. Bjarni would remain prime minister until a new government is formed, whether through elections or another process.

Bjarni has not commented at the time of publishing and has yet to meet with President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

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