In Focus: Bjarni Benediktsson

bjarni benediktsson

A snap press conference On Monday, October 10, Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson called a snap press conference. The call came on the heels of an opinion authored by the Parliamentary Ombudsman that concluded that the Minister of Finance’s role in the ongoing privatisation process of the Íslandsbanki bank – which had been nationalised following the 2008 […]

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New Finance Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Moves Forward with Íslandsbanki Sale

Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Innovation Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir

Minister of Finance Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir has recently expressed support for the continued sale of state-owned Íslandsbanki shares. RÚV reports.

Formerly Minister of Foreign Affairs, Þórdís recently switched places with Bjarni Benediktsson in the wake of his resignation from office.

Þórdís stated to RÚV that although it would be a good move for the state to divest itself of ownership in Íslandsbanki, it may be necessary to change some regulations and guidelines in light of the recent controversy.

Preparatory work underway

It has now been some nine days since Þórdís assumed her new position as Minister of Finance. She discussed the recent government changes and her priorities in the coming weeks and months on the current events talk show Silfurinn last night.

On Silfurinn, she stated that her ministry is currently working to prepare for finalising the Íslandsbanki sale and that nothing has changed regarding the goal of state divestiture in Íslandsbanki.

Þórdís stated that the state-owned shares in Íslandsbanki account for several billion ISK and that the sale is of great importance to the treasury. While not divulging details, she stated that a good price had been obtained for the sale and that the recent opinion of the Parliamentary Ombudsman would be taken into account.

“I am of the opinion that it is simply right to divest the state of its ownership in Íslandsbanki. I know there are voices out there that are concerned that it is done properly and that all the rules are followed,” she said. “Some rules need to be changed or the methodology of selling needs to change as well. It should be a completely public auction, as broad and general as possible, so the public can easily participate.”

Þórdís further stated that she hopes the work will begin as soon as possible.

 

 

Bjarni and Þórdís Swap in Ministerial Reshuffle

bjarni benediktsson

Changes to the government were announced on Saturday, October 14. Former Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson is now Foreign Minister and former Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Gylfadóttir is now Finance Minister.

The ministerial swap was announced at Edda, the new Centre for Icelandic Studies, and the ministers formally took on their new roles at Bessastaðir, the presidential residence.

Read more: Bjarni Benediktsson Sits for Last Parliamentary Session as Finance Minister

The ministerial swap is considered especially significant given the current political and economic situation, including upcoming wage negotiations, high inflation, and the still-unfolding aftermath of the controversial Íslandsbanki share auction.

Bjarni resigned from office on October 10 when the Parliamentary Ombudsman issued an official statement criticizing his handling of the March 2022 sale, in which a group of “qualified investors” were given priority to purchase Íslandsbanki shares. Among these qualified investors was Benedikt Sveinsson, the father of the now-former Finance Minister.

According to the weekend announcement, another minister is needed to reach an agreement on the sale of Íslandsbanki. Bjarni claims to have found majority support in parliament to continue selling the state’s stake in Íslandsbanki, though he has acknowledged that opinions like those presented by the Parliamentary Ombudsman have made it difficult for him to lead this effort.

Trading places

Finance Minister Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir stressed the importance of finalising the sale of Íslandsbanki in her first statement to the press. She expressed her excitement for the tasks ahead in her new position, stating that “the tasks I take upon myself are always on my mind.”

According to the new Finance Minister, the fight against inflation and better utilization of public funds are among the most pressing tasks ahead. She also stated that she is ready to take on a leadership position within the Independence Party, Iceland’s centre-right party and a member of the current governing coalition, when the time comes.

Bjarni stated to RÚV that he was excited to take over duties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time,” he stated, adding that he was focused on “not worrying too much” over the past few days.

A revolving door

Ólafur Þ. Harðarson, a professor of political science, stated to RÚV that the news did not come as a surprise.

According to Ólafur, although there has been some tension within the coalition, he believes that the government is stronger now than if Bjarni had left the government.

However, Ólafur stated that it is unusual for a minister to shoulder responsibility by resigning and moving to another ministerial position.

“Some have said that such a revolving door policy is unprecedented in the Nordics,” he stated. However, he highlighted Denmark as a recent example of such ministerial reshuffling, adding: “Such practices are not without precedent, though it is not common practice throughout the region.”

 

 

 

Bjarni Benediktsson Sits for Last Parliamentary Session as Finance Minister

bjarni benediktsson finance minister

A session of Alþingi convened today at 10:30 to direct questions at the outgoing Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, regarding his recent decision to step down from office.

However, Bjarni was not directly addressed by any parliament member, RÚV reports. Instead, the session was used to discuss the nature and consequences of his resignation, with some members of the opposition being especially outspoken in their criticism.

Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, Resigns from Office

Bjarni Benediktsson is an Icelandic politician and businessman who served as Minister of Finance for some 10 years, with a break to briefly serve as Prime Minister in 2017. Since 2009, he has also headed the Independence Party. However, Bjarni has found himself embroiled in many scandals throughout his political career, including his involvement in the Vafningur ehf. case, his appearance in the Panama Papers, and most recently, the sale of Íslandsbanki shares. Such associations have earned Bjarni the popular epithet “Teflon.”

His decision to step down from office came in the wake of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s opinion that his handling of the March 2022 sale of Íslandsbanki shares was unsatisfactory. However, the possibility of a new role for Bjarni in government has some critics concerned that his resignation is, in fact, simply “changing seats.”

New Ministerial Role for Bjarni a Possibility

Fellow Independence Party member Jón Gunnarsson, former Minister of Justice, stated that the recent resignation represented the good functioning of the governing coalition. The former minister expressed his satisfaction with how Bjarni had reacted to the report, indicating that there will indeed be changes coming, but that the first steps taken have been positive.

Some ministers have been less optimistic about Bjarni’s recent resignation. Þorbjörg Sigríður Gunnlaugsdóttir, Reform Party MP,  expressed her concern that another ministerial seat awaited Bjarni. Stating that the “humility of the day” was over, she suspected that Bjarni is heading for a post as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

New Ministerial Role for Bjarni a Possibility, According to PM

Yesterday, Bjarni Benediktsson announced his resignation from his ministerial post following a formal opinion by the Parliamentary Ombudsman regarding the sale of Íslandsbanki. In an interview with Vísir yesterday, PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated that she supported his decision, emphasised the coalition government’s stability, and dismissed rumours of early elections.

Decision was entirely Bjarni’s

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated that Bjarni Benediktsson’s decision to resign from his ministerial post had been commendable and appropriate, stressing that the decision had been entirely his.

Katrín affirmed the coalition’s stability and refuted suggestions of imminent elections. There is speculation that Benediktsson may take on a different ministerial role. “This is, of course, a significant decision that the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has made, and he thoroughly discussed it at (yesterday morning’s) press conference,” Katrín Jakobsdóttir noted.

A snap press conference

During a press conference yesterday, Bjarni Benediktsson cited the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s critique on the Íslandsbanki sale as his reason for resigning. The Ombudsman highlighted a potential conflict of interest, noting Bjarni’s father was among the buyers when Bjarni approved the sale through the Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI). While Bjarni expressed disagreement with the Ombudsman’s view, he chose to respect it and subsequently announced his resignation.

“I find this decision to be very commendable. I believe that the Minister of Finance, at every stage of this matter, even though he has been criticised, has sought to take responsibility for this action. Perhaps one can say that this responsibility became final today, with this decision,” Katrín observed.

When asked if she felt it was right for Bjarni to resign in this situation, Katrín stated that the decision was entirely Bjarni’s to make. “But I have a deep understanding of this decision and respect it. We, of course, discussed this beforehand, and there were various aspects to consider. But I believe he did the right thing,” Katrín stated, adding that she neither demanded nor wished for Bjarni to step down.

Big tasks ahead

As noted by Vísir, the leaders of the governing parties discussed Bjarni’s resignation at a cabinet meeting yesterday. When asked about their discussions, Katrín replied that the three leaders had simply reviewed the situation. “Given the nature of the matter, it affects the collaboration of these parties when the leader of one party decides to step down from his position.” The government is now facing major tasks, especially in economic matters.

A significant political decision

Katrín told Vísir that she and Bjarni had not discussed his possible resignation in the event that the Ombudsman deemed that the latter had been unqualified to handle the sale: “The Minister of Finance briefed me on the Ombudsman’s stance beforehand. We deliberated on it collegially, examining various angles. Ultimately, the decision was his, and it holds substantial political implications.”

Katrín further emphasised the coalition government’s resilience, asserting that its leadership structure would remain intact despite Benediktsson’s departure. The upcoming days would be spent assessing the current economic landscape. A subsequent cabinet meeting would be held to formalise Bjarni’s resignation.

Responding to queries about a potential government breakdown following Benediktsson’s decision, Jakobsdóttir stated, “No. I’m confident we’re united in our commitment to address these pressing challenges.”

Bjarni to move ministries?

At yesterday’s press conference, Bjarni Benediktsson expressed uncertainty about his future role, whether as a minister, the leader of the Independence Party, or a parliament member. Addressing questions about Bjarni potentially heading another ministry, Katrín Jakobsdóttir emphasized the current focus on the Ministry of Finance.

“Our primary concern is to ensure the Minister of Finance can work effectively and be accountable for the Íslandsbanki sale. While the possibility of Bjarni leading another ministry exists, it hasn’t been a topic of discussion,” Jakobsdóttir clarified.

Vísir postulated that Benediktsson might transition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir potentially taking over Finance. Ólafur Þ. Harðarson, an emeritus professor at the University of Iceland, conveyed to RÚV that such speculations might have merit.

Ministry of Finance up for grabs

Vísir noted that Bjarni Benediktsson isn’t the sole minister under the Ombudsman’s scrutiny. The Ombudsman is currently investigating whether Svandís Svavarsdóttir breached administrative laws by introducing a whaling ban earlier this summer.

When questioned about potential repercussions if the Ombudsman identifies similar lapses in Svavarsdóttir’s actions, Katrín admitted to having heard speculations although no such thing had been discussed at the moment.

“I’ve heard speculations about this today. Of course, the Ombudsman often investigates many ministers and our official transfers. I believe it’s premature to comment on such matters in any related context. These issues can be inherently different, so we should just wait and see.”

Will the Left-Green Movement want the Ministry of Finance?

When asked if Katrín’s party, the Left-Green Movement, was interested in the Ministry of Finance, Katrín replied thusly: “We haven’t discussed the matter based on these premises. In our meeting today with the three [leaders of the governing parties], we primarily discussed the bigger picture, the tasks, and how we can ensure that we come out of this stronger than when we entered,” Katrín observed.

She doesn’t expect elections to be called earlier than scheduled. As noted by Vísir, based on a full electoral term, the next parliamentary elections are set for the fall of 2025. “Nothing has happened that warrants it, at least for now,” Katrín concluded by saying.

Minister Advocates for Fiscal Restraint in Iceland’s New Budget

Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson

In a budget briefing yesterday, the Finance Minister highlighted increased government earnings while advocating for fiscal restraint to counter inflation. He revealed a multifaceted approach for the upcoming year, which included streamlining state institutions for targeted savings of ISK 17 billion [$129 million / €119 million], revising road taxes to account for the surge in electric vehicles, and adjusting income tax brackets, all against a backdrop of a projected state treasury deficit and rising healthcare costs.

Cautious optimism tempered by financial and demographic challenges

During yesterday’s press conference on the state budget, Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson underscored the significance of acknowledging a marked increase in government revenue, which had surpassed earlier projections. He advocated for continued fiscal discipline to mitigate rising inflationary pressures. The goal was to prioritise investments in infrastructure and basic services like the National Hospital and housing. He also revisited plans to streamline state-run institutions, targeting savings of ISK 17 billion [$129 million / €119 million] for next year.

On transportation, Bjarni stressed that the rise in electric vehicles, facilitated by government incentives, had negatively impacted fuel tax revenues. He announced plans for a “new, simpler, fairer, and more transparent system” based on road usage. “It’s time for electric vehicles to participate in maintaining the road network,” he added.

As noted by RÚV, the draft budget reveals a projected state treasury deficit of ISK 46 billion [$344 million / €320 million], primarily due to interest expenses outpacing interest income. However, core operational revenues anticipate a surplus of ISK 28 billion [$209 million / €195 million]. Self-sustaining state entities project a modest surplus in core operations but face a deficit once interest is considered.

Healthcare spending is set to increase significantly, up by ISK 88 billion [$658 million / €612 million] since 2017 and ISK 14 billion [$105 million / €97 million] compared to last year. Factors like tourism, population growth, and an ageing population are cited as key drivers.

An 8.5% adjustment in income tax brackets by year’s end is expected to reduce the average income tax by about ISK 7,000 [$52 / €49]. Bjarni also noted the reimplementation of the overnight stay tax in 2024 – revoked in 2020 due to the pandemic – extending it to cruise ships.

Total state expenditure for the next year is estimated at ISK 1,480 billion [$11 billion / €10.3 billion]. The budget draft shows a 22.3% increase in financial costs and a 14.8% rise in hospital services. Funding for innovation has decreased the most, by 9.7%, followed by a similar reduction in foreign affairs.

Overall, the budget suggests a cautious optimism tempered by financial and demographic challenges.

Briefly on the budget: According to constitutional provisions, disbursements from the state treasury can only be made if authorised in the annual budget or a supplementary spending bill. The budget undergoes a rigorous legislative process: the Minister of Finance introduces the draft budget to Parliament during its first autumn session, typically held on the second Tuesday in September. Following this, the draft undergoes three rounds of parliamentary debates before it is usually finalized and approved in December.

Government Approves Measures to Counteract Inflation, Overheating Economy

Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson

In lieu of raising interest rates, the government will be implementing various measures intended to counteract inflation and an overheating economy as well as reducing the treasury deficit. Vísir reports that among the changes proposed by Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson are a reduction to discounts on alcohol and tobacco products sold in airport Duty Free stores and the introduction of tariffs that will offset the current lack of revenue from vehicle and fuel taxation.

The scope of the proposed measures is roughly 0.7% of the GDP, or ISK 26 billion [$1.98 million; €1.88 million]. This amount should hopefully put the treasury in good stead to decrease the deficit without needing to increase interest rates. The proposals will be elaborated in full in the 2023 budget proposal.

Measures intended to increase the state’s revenue

One of the biggest changes is the introduction of tariffs that are meant to offset revenue that the government has lost from vehicle and fuel taxation. This drop in revenue is attributed in part to an increase in environmentally friendly cars. As more environmentally friendly cars become the norm, it is expected that the revenue streams that the government used to enjoy from gasoline and vehicle taxes will continue to decline. As such, a simpler and more efficient revenue collection system is being developed, which corresponds to the need for continued governmental expenditure on new construction, maintenance, and operation of Icelandic roadways.

Another major change will be a reduction in the tax discount on alcohol and tobacco products in Duty Free stores. Both are currently tax-free (in specific, limited quantities) when purchased, for instance, at the Keflavík airport upon entering or exiting the country. There will be a new diversion airport fee and the structure and scope of aquaculture-related VAT will be under review as well.

Measures intended to cut state costs

Current reductions of state-related travel expenses are to be made permanent. The leeway that exists for expenditures in the current budget will be suspended and leeway for general expenditures in policy-related areas will be almost cut in half. There will also be a reduction in contributions to political organizations.

Seaman’s Association: Government’s Stalled Negotiations with Coast Guard Pilots “Unacceptable and Disgraceful”

TF-GRÓ Icelandic Coast Guard Helicopter

The Icelandic Seaman’s Association has issued a strongly worded statement in support of Iceland’s Coast Guard pilots, calling the government’s delay in negotiations “unacceptable and disgraceful,” Mbl.is reports. The Coast Guard pilots have been without a contract since December 31, 2019.

‘A hopeless position’

As Iceland’s Coast Guard pilots have police powers, they are legally prohibited from going on strike, which puts them in “a hopeless position” when it comes to contract bargaining, says Sonja Bjarnadóttir Backman, a lawyer with the Icelandic Airline Pilots’ Association (FÍA). Per a statement issued by FÍA in April, Coast Guard pilots’ “labour agreements have historically been linked to CLAs of comparable professions, for the longest time through a statutory link, or until 2006.”

That arrangement is now under “vigorou[s] attack” by the Ministry of Finance, however, which FÍA says is pushing “a clear demand for a new, original wage agreement without links to comparable professions. This will not only affect pilot benefits but will also greatly increase staff turnover among the Coast Guard’s pilots.”

With “hundreds of millions of ISK” spent on training each pilot, high turnover amongst the Coast Guard’s pilots is clearly costly to the state monetarily, but also has the associated cost of lost experience and knowledge among the highly trained professionals who oversee rescue operations at sea. “Increased staff turnover is therefore quick to more than offset the disconnection of wages from comparable professions,” continues the FÍA statement.

The FÍA also takes issue with the Ministry of Finance’s desire to abolish the pilot’s seniority list, which it says is “one of the cornerstones of safety culture in aviation around the world.”

“This arrangement has proved successful, as such lists ensure transparency, professionalism, and that pilots can report incidents without fear of punishment. The Ministry has presented no objective arguments to support its position, and in fact the pilots’ negotiation committee has perceived a lack of professional knowledge and understanding of the unique position of the aviation industry in the negotiations.”

(Read the FÍA’s full “Resolution from the Pilots of the Icelandic Coast Guard here, in English.)

See Also: Coast Guard Helicopter Unmanned Due to Pilot Shortage

“It’s happened that there’s no helicopter available when needed,” continues to the statement issued by the Seaman’s Association. Indeed, due to staff illness, there was no helicopter available when a serious traffic accident occurred in South Iceland this week. Since it was not possible to man the helicopter crew, the injured person had to be transported by ambulance – making the trip one and a half hours longer than it would have been by helicopter.

According to Ásgeir Erlendsson, communications officer of the Icelandic Coast Guard, for two thirds of the year, the Coast Guard has two crews on call, but for one third of the year, there is just a single crew on duty. In the past, illness or other staffing challenges have been solved by calling in staff who were off duty. That was, however, not possible on the day of the accident in question.

This staffing shortage was denounced by the Minister of Justice, who wants to increase the number of helicopter pilots. But despite the Seaman’s Association’s later claims, this incident was said to be unrelated to the pilots’ ongoing wage dispute.

‘Ambulances of the sea’

The Seaman’s Association statement, which was cosigned by the Association of Ship Captains, the Association of Engineers and Metalworkers, and the Grindavík Seaman and Engineer Association, also drew particular attention to the fact that with only one helicopter on duty, it is not possible to rescue distressed sailors who are more than 20 nautical miles from land.

“If ships are outside the 20 nautical mile-mark,” reads the statement, “they have to sail to meet a helicopter with their injured or ill. Minutes matter in these cases—let alone hours.”

The Seaman’s Association presses the government to ensure that there are always two helicopters, or “ambulances of the sea” available, and concluded by saying that having only one helicopter on duty could have grave consequences for Icelandic and foreign fishermen alike.

‘Out with Bjarni’: Íslandsbanki Protesters Continue Calls for Minister of Finance’s Resignation

Bjarni Benediktsson icelandic politics

Protesters gathered in Austurvöllur Square in front of parliament once more on Saturday to voice their anger at the government’s recent sale of shares in Íslandsbanki bank. Hundreds of protesters gathered last week; the exact attendance numbers of Saturday’s event were not available at time of writing. However, Vísir reports that 2,000 people marked themselves as attending on the protest on Facebook, an event entitled “Bjarna Burt, Spillinguna Burt,” or “Out with Bjarni [Benediktsson, Minister of Finance], Out with Corruption.”

The protest was a festive one, and kicked off with a performance by Páll Óskar, and included speeches by former and current MPs, a reading by the “poet of the protest,” Anton Helgi Jónsson, and performances by hip hop acts XXX Rottweiler and Blaffi. Hot chocolate and doughnuts were served before and after the rally itself.

See Also: Hundreds Protest Sale of Íslandsbanki Shares

Íslandsbanki was fully owned by the government until last year, when it sold a 35% stake in the bank, something that had been on the government agenda for years. While that first offering was open to the public, last month’s offering was solely open to professional investors. The second sale was successful, reducing the government’s stake in the bank from 65% to 42.5%. The government has been criticised for the latter share offering’s lack of transparency, and for the 5% discount buyers received on the shares’ market value. The majority of the investors who purchased shares sold their stakes almost immediately for considerable profit.

Days after the first protest at Austurvöllur, the Icelandic government announced that it would be introducing a parliamentary bill to abolish Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI), the government’s holding company on the financial market. But protesters are not yet satisfied.

See Also: Government to Dismantle State Investment Company

The protesters have three demands: that the sale be rescinded, that Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson resign, and that the board and CEO of the ISFI step down. Now that the latter demand has been achieved with the dismantling of ISFI all together, protesters remain focused on their first two goals.

‘Out with the puppets of capitalism in the government’

Davíð Þór Jónsson speaks at Saturday’s ‘Out with Bjarni!’ rally. Screenshot via Vísir.

“We’re going to learn from this,” said headlining speaker Davíð Þór Jónsson, a pastor and actor who has been an outspoken leader in the Íslandsbanki protests. “We’ll learn to never, never, never again trust these people with a single thing. We’ll learn to never, never, never again trust political parties that form a government that would allow this to happen.” His remarks were met with cheers from the crowd.

“Our demands are unambiguous and reasonable,” Davíð Þór continued. “Out with the psychopaths [amoral people] in our financial system! Out with the puppets of capitalism in the government! Out with an ineffectual, cowardly Alþingi that doesn’t have the guts to affirm its lack of confidence in an unfit government that doesn’t just permit, but rather gives its blessing to the psychopaths plundering their own country!”

Hundreds Protest Sale of Íslandsbanki Shares

Several hundred people gathered in Austurvöllur square on Friday to protest the government’s recent sale of shares in Íslandsbanki bank, and the way the sales were handled. Pirate Party MP Halldóra Mogensen was among the speakers at the protests and called on Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson to resign. RÚV reported first.

The protest was co-organized by ASÍ-UNG, the youth branch of the Icelandic Confederation of Labour, which works to ensure that the interest of young people remain priorities on the trade union association’s agenda. They were joined by activist group Jæja, the Young Pirates, the Young Social Democrats, and the Young Socialists.

See Also: Many Íslandsbanki Buyers Have Already Sold for Profit

Íslandsbanki was fully owned by the government until last year, when it sold a 35% stake in the bank, something that had been on the government agenda for years. While that first offering was open to the public, last month’s offering was solely open to professional investors. The second sale was successful, reducing the government’s stake in the bank from 65% to 42.5%. The government has been criticised for the latter share offering’s lack of transparency, and for the 5% discount buyers received on the shares’ market value.

Of the 207 investors who purchased shares in Íslandsbanki bank in a private share offering last month, 132 have already sold some or all of their stake in the formerly state-owned bank, Kjarninn reports. The sellers have made a cumulative profit of ISK 1.6-2.1 billion [$12.3-16.2 million; €11.4-15 million]. Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson had previously stated that the aim of the share offering was to acquire long-term investors in the bank.

Screenshot, Vísir

See Also: Central Bank of Iceland Investigating Íslandsbanki Sale

The Central Bank of Iceland confirmed to Stundin that it has opened an investigation into the government’s March 22 sale of a 22.5% stake in Íslandsbanki bank. However, what specific matters about the sale are under investigation is not clear.

‘Out with the oligarchs, out with corruption’

Vísir reports that Professor Þorvaldur Gylfason, chair of the VR trade union Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson, People’s Party MP Ásta Lóa Þórsdóttir, and Socialist MP Gunnar Smári Egilsson were also speakers at the protest.

“We’re protesting the sale of Íslandsbanki and how it was handled. Who was allowed to buy shares,” said Gunnar Smári.

“We are protesting a corrupt government that is incompetent and tiresome,” said Atli Gíslason, chair of the Young Socialists. His colleague Kristbjörg Eva Andersen Ramos added:

“Out with the oligarchs, out with corruption. We want a just society.”