Ungir jafnaðarmenn, the youth movement of the Social Democrats, issued a vote of no confidence on Speaker of Parliament Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir on Sunday for authorizing discussions in Alþingi on Bjarni Benediktsson’s resolution that the parliament drop its charges against former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde.
Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Young Social Democrats said in their statement that they find it unacceptable that the speaker of parliament, the highest ranking representative of the legislative according to the Constitution of Iceland, take a position against the judicature in this manner given that court proceedings have already begun at the High Court (Landsdómur) and call for Ásta’s resignation, visir.is reports.
Others who have criticized Ásta for her decision include MPs from her own party, the Social Democrats, and the Social Democrats’ coalition party, the Left-Greens. Ásta’s critics reason that the resolution wasn’t legally appropriate for parliamentary discussions, Fréttablaðið reports.
“The speaker of parliament must work in compliance with the law. According to a legal evaluation conducted for me by the parliament’s senior lawyer and confirmed by some of our main lawyers, the resolution was perfectly eligible for parliamentary discussions,” Ásta said in her defense.
She added that before the parliament went on leave in December it was agreed that Bjarni’s resolution would be discussed after parliament reconvened in January. No one objected to that agreement, she pointed out.
MP of The Movement Birgitta Jónsdóttir is calling for a vote of no confidence on Ásta but requires signatures of 32 MPs to force her to step down.
Ásta said she doesn’t believe so many MPs will declare a vote of no confidence on her work as speaker of parliament and she has not considered resigning.
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