MP for the Social Democrats Steinunn Valdís Óskarsdóttir announced yesterday that she has decided to step down from parliament. She reasoned that she is unable to perform her duties as MP due to discussions about funding that she has received.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, who is chairwoman of the Social Democrats, said in a statement that she is grateful for Óskarsdóttir’s decision, which shows humility and bravery, Fréttabladid reports.
“I feel there is a dignity in Steinunn Valdís’s decision and I believe that with it an important step towards increased faith of the public in the Social Democrats and in politics in general,” the PM said.
Óskarsdóttir said in her announcement that it doesn’t matter whether accusations of bribery and corruption are true or not. She has a clean conscience and therefore she cannot “apologize for having been guilty of ethical corruption by seeking and obtaining from these parties at this time.”
Óskarsdóttir accepted ISK 13 million (USD 100,000, EUR 81,000) in funding for her campaigns in two primaries in 2006, the first of which was for the municipal election in Reykjavík and the second for the Althingi parliament.
In April this year she explained that she had required funding to finance her campaigns because she doesn’t come from a wealthy family. At that point she saw no reason to question her decision.
Óskarsdóttir said that she should have known that her decision to accept funding in 2006 could jeopardize the trust her voters have in her. “The good reasons I had or the faith I have in my judgment and honesty doesn’t matter.”
The MP added that pride was also a factor in her not announcing her resignation at an earlier stage. She didn’t want to step forward “under shouts of dishonesty, corruption and bribery.”
She hopes that her resignation will be a step towards reconciliation in society.
Óskarsdóttir will deliver her letter of resignation to the speaker of parliament on Monday when parliament reconvenes. She was unwilling to comment on her decision to the media yesterday.
Click here to read more about personal funding for politicians and demands for their resignations.