In last night’s closing speeches before summer recess in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, MPs discussed the main events of the parliamentary session and stressed their policies. These speeches are commonly referred to as eldhúsdagsumræður or ‘kitchen day discussion.’
PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson reiterated that the government intended to complete certain issues and then call for an election, RÚV reports. He stated he would ask for the dissolution of parliament, and that the timing of that would have to be clear before long to allow the political parties time to get ready for the election. He found it likely that elections would be called for this fall.
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, head of the Left-Green Movement, made the Panama Papers the main subject of her speech. She spoke of how they had shown that a small group of people had taken advantage of offshore companies in tax havens in order to store their money, and that it was time to get go the root of this unequal distribution of wealth.
Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said Iceland had overcome the financial crisis, and that a new era of progress was ahead, based on a stronger foundation than most people had predicted following the banking crisis in Iceland.
Árni Páll Árnason, the outgoing leader of the Social Democratic Alliance, voiced the opinion that past months’ events have shown the importance of changing the rules regarding connections between the state and influential people in the private sector. He said well connected businesspeople had been allowed to make financial gain through their connections to restricted positions or state property. “Now it’s evident that these special friends have failed to pay tax on their gain.”
Óttarr Proppé, leader of Bright Future, described the Panama Papers as a punch in the stomach when the nation thought it was finally recovering from the financial crisis.
Helgi Hrafn Gunnlaugsson, head of the Pirate Party, said he had trouble defining the term ‘politics,’ due to recent scandals and broken promises. He said he wanted to believe there will be parliamentary elections in the fall, but added, “if I said I was sure, I’d be lying.”
In its editorial today, Fréttablaðið voiced its disapproval of the ‘kitchen day discussion,’ claiming that nothing new was said, and that the speeches were void of a sense of humor. It called the discussion an unnecessary tradition and claimed that most likely, nothing would be lost if last night’s discussion had been the last of its kind.