Iceland government falls over pedophile letter cover up

Sigríður Á Andersen

Iceland's economy is booming after the government earlier this year dismantled the last of the capital controls that had been in place since 2008.

Iceland's Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has resigned after his father wrote a letter to the Justice Ministry calling for the criminal record of a convicted sex offender to be erased.

The prime minister added that he was seeking to hold snap election this November.

It is ultimately up to President Gudni Johannesson, whom Benediktsson will meet with today, to make the decision on a new election.

The crown fell as much as 1 percent to 106.01 per dollar and to 126.60 per euro.

Benediktsson's father, Benedikt Sveinsson, had helped a convicted child molester apply for a clause in the country's judicial system allowing those who've served sentences for serious crimes to "restore their honor".

"The board of Bright Future has chose to terminate cooperation with the government of Bjarni Benediktsson", the party said in a statement on Facebook. "The reason for the split is a serious breach of trust within the government".

Mr Benediktsson is reported to have been aware of his father's efforts since the summer, but the information has only now become public following a ruling from a parliamentary committee.

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But Benediktsson neglected to inform Bright Future and Reform Party leaders of the letter until Monday, according to RUV.

"This situation was uncalled for but we will have an election", Benediktsson told a news conference in Reykjavik.

"That goes against our policies here at Bright Future on transparency and a good way of working", said Ottarr Proppe, head of the Bright Future party.

It only emerged on Thursday that it was Benedikt Sveinsson, Mr Benediktsson's father, but the prime minister is said to have been informed about his involvement in July.

The Prime Minister said on Friday he was "shocked" to hear of his father's letter and never tried to hide anything.

"This week, it came forth that my father had written a letter. I couldn't have written such a letter myself and I will never try to defend that". "The outlook for Iceland is very bright and strong".

Icelandic journalist Hjortur Gudmundsson said the coalition's position was already fragile, as it had a majority of only one parliamentary seat before Bright Future withdrew its support.

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