Iceland’s Presidential Couple Argue in Interview Skip to content

Iceland’s Presidential Couple Argue in Interview

In a long interview with the Condé Nast Portfolio, published in its online edition on Monday, Iceland’s presidential couple, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and Dorrit Moussaieff, argue about what the first lady is allowed to say.

Bessastadir, the presidential residence. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Moussaieff said she had often warned that the banks would collapse, that she had a long experience in business affairs and that she had realized the extent of the risk they were taking. Her husband then said it was not in her place to make such statements, Morgunbladid reports.

The interview is based on a conversation that Condé Nast Portfolio’s journalist Joshua Hammer had with the first couple during dinner at their residence Bessastadir in December. Although the president insisted that the first lady’s comments were off the record, Moussaieff later called Hammer and dismissed her husband’s proviso, giving the journalist permission to use all of her quotes for the interview.

Moussaieff also disagreed with her husband that thousands of Icelanders would lose their homes, claiming it impossible since there are more houses than people in Iceland.

The first lady commented that she had wanted to join the protests on Austurvöllur parliamentary square but that her husband wouldn’t allow it.

Moussaieff said she had followed the dispute between Icelandic and British authorities closely and that she was planning to hold an informal meeting with the representatives of Icelandic authorities in London to discuss how to deal with the claim of British authorities that Icelanders honor their obligations towards British account holders.

Presidential secretary Örnólfur Thorsson said he had not heard of any such meeting.

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