Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir defended her position in television interviews on Stöð 2’s Ísland í dag and RÚV’s Kastljós yesterday evening, denying having been in violation of regulations in her relations with former Chief of Police Stefán Eiríksson during the police’s investigation of the leak of a confidential document from her ministry.
In his third letter to the minister, published on Monday, Omdudsman of Alþingi Tryggvi Gunnarsson referenced his conversations with Stefán, revealing that Hanna Birna had repeatedly tried to interfere with the investigation and threatened to have the police and state prosecutor investigated.
Hanna Birna harshly criticizes Tryggvi, stating that there is nothing new in his latest letter. She added that she is saddened by how some institutions can get away with publishing insinuations about her, visir.is reported after her appearance on Ísland í dag.
“It’s clear that for the first time the ombudsman chooses to call people into questioning and publish it publicly without giving others the chance to object. He never talked with me about the affair,” Hanna Birna revealed.
“I find that the ombudsman has come to a conclusion before the investigation of the affair has been completed,” she stated.
When asked whether she indends to resign, Hanna Birna responded. “I will not resign from a ministerial office because of some storm in a teacup around an affair that is certainly unfortunate.”
“A politician should never consider resigning if he or she hasn’t done anything wrong. I haven’t done anything which my conscience tells me was wrong,” Hanna Birna iterated.
“I would of course in a political context have done things differently, had I known how the affair would develop,” she admitted.
Hanna Birna maintained that she doesn’t know how the information was leaked. “I haven’t been able to ... explain the situation because I don’t know what happened.”
On Kastljós, Hanna Birna stressed that she had never tried to interfere with the police’s investiagion into the leak. There was nothing unnatural about her conversations with the police chief, she claimed.
Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson, who chairs Hanna Birna’s Independence Party, told RÚV that they support her, while opposition leaders Guðmundur Steingrímsson, chair of Bright Future, and Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chair of the Left-Greens, find that she should resign.
Árni Páll Árnason, chair of the Social Democrats, stated that he awaits the ombudsman’s conclusion and until then, Hanna Birna’s fate is in the government’s hands.