Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir is facing renewed calls from opposition leaders to step down and assume responsibility for her former assistant Gísli Freyr Valdórsson after he confessed on Tuesday to leaking confidential and sensitive information about an asylum seeker in November 2013. Gísli was yesterday handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence.
Party group chair of the Left-Greens Svandís Svavarsdóttir said in an interview with RÚV: “Hanna bears, just like all other ministers, full political responsibility for her assistant and for that reason we think it is appropriate that she resigns.”
Guðmundur Steingrímsson also argued that it would be best if Hanna Birna quit, particularly given that the ministry had to be rearranged over the issue, referring to Hanna Birna’s duties as minister of justice being relocated to a different ministry while Gísli’s case was handled by the courts.
Chair of the Social Democrats Árni Páll Árnason and Pirate Party leader Birgitta Jónsdóttir Hirt have also stated that they believe Hanna Birna should step down over the case.
Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson on the other hand has stated his support for the minister, arguing that she too is “in many ways a victim in the case” and that it is “clear that she was not involved in and had no knowledge of this [the leak].” He said that much could be learnt from the case and that its long-term impact does not have to be negative.
Bjarni Benediktsson, chair of the Independence Party, to which Hanna Birna belongs, told visir.is that the minister has his full support and the party remains behind her.