Minister for Business Affairs Björgvin G. Sigurdsson announced earlier today that he has decided to step down from his post, also announcing the resignation of Jónas Fr. Jónsson, director of the Financial Supervisory Authority (FME), and the entire FME board.
Minister for Business Affairs Björgvin G. Sigurdsson. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Sigurdsson said that by resigning he is taking responsibility for his part in the collapse of Iceland’s banking system, encouraging others to do the same, mbl.is reports.
“I have never questioned my part in the political responsibility [for the collapse] and I have always intended to shoulder it,” Sigurdsson said.
The minister explained that for a long time he had believed that the government would be able to regain the public’s trust through its work in reconstructing the economy, but it had become evident that people were too angry and there was too little faith in the government.
“Trust will never be regained unless changes are made to the key institutions,” Sigurdsson stated, adding that it is not for him to decide whether the Independence Party-Social Democrat coalition in Iceland’s government should remain at the helm until the elections in spring.
Sigurdsson intends to continue working as MP and run for the Social Democrats at the upcoming elections. He said no one had pressured him to resign from the cabinet and that he had not discussed the matter with the chairmen of the government parties until this morning.
On Friday, Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer and that he would not run for chairman of the Independence Party at the party’s next general meeting, which has been postponed until March. Haarde also said that he supports elections in spring, proposing May 9 as a date for the elections.
Despite the PM’s announcement, protests continued in front of the Althingi parliament yesterday.
Click here to read more about the PM’s surprise announcement.