Former Minister of Business Affairs Björgvin G. Sigurdsson, who resigned from his post shortly before the collapse of the Independence Party-Social Democrat coalition in January 2009, resigned as chairman of the Social Democrats’ parliamentary party after the crisis report was made public today.
Björgvin G. Sigurdsson. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
The Special Investigation Commission named Sigurdsson as one of three ministers who had neglected their duties in the events leading up to the banking collapse of October 2008. The other two are former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and Finance Minister Árni M. Mathiesen.
Sigurdsson told RÚV that he will lobby for the summoning of a High Court (landsdómur) so that it can be determined whether the ministers who are accused of negligence in the report, himself included, are in fact guilty.
Historian Gudni Th. Jóhannesson told visir.is that if a High Court will indeed be summoned, according to the 14th article of the Icelandic Constitution, it will be the first time since the Republic of Iceland was founded in 1944.
In a High Court the Althingi parliament can file charges against ministers for negligence. The High Court then rules whether the ministers are guilty or innocent.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, who is also chairwoman of the Social Democrats, said Sigurdsson did the honorable thing by resigning as parliamentary group chair, visir.is reports.
Click here to read more about the PM’s reactions to the report.