German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine discussed President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson in an article on its website on Tuesday and his recent comments to the German media, wondering whether he is too temperamental for his job.
President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
In an interview with Grímsson, published in the online edition of Financial Times Deutschland on Tuesday, the president is quoted saying that Iceland should not compensate German Kaupthing account holders.
The article caused quite an upset in Germany. However, as Grímsson stated in an interview with Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV, he never said that Iceland would not honor its obligations to foreign savers and that the interview was based on a misunderstanding.
The article in Frankfurter Allgemeine covers Grímsson’s political past, arguing that he had always tried to trump his opponents and continued to do so after taking the chair as Iceland’s non-political and symbolic leader, Morgunbladid reports.
The article concludes that Grímsson made an ill-informed move in trying to blame other nations for causing the economic crisis in Iceland, although the president had later explained that he had only been trying to lend Iceland his voice.
The article states that both Grímsson and his former political opponent, former Prime Minister and current Central Bank governor and chairman Davíd Oddsson, are causing difficulties for Iceland’s new government with their behavior, Oddsson by refusing to leave the Central Bank and Grímsson by harming Iceland’s reputation abroad.
“It is no easy task to reclaim the faith Iceland has lost in foreign countries when its highest-ranking head of state has such a volcanic temper,” the article concludes.
Meanwhile, Financial Times Deutschland wants to clear all misunderstanding and its possible misrepresentation of Grímsson’s comments by publishing another article on the matter and the recording of the interview.
Former Minister of Business Affairs Björgvin G. Sigurdsson of the Social Democrats defended the president in parliament yesterday, saying that his words had been seriously misinterpreted. “In my opinion he did not step out of line.” Morgunbladid reports.
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