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Iceland's PM calls snap election after government collapses

Emmanuel Dunand, AFP | Iceland's Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson arrives for the NATO summit at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on May 25, 2017.

Iceland's prime minister on Friday called for a second snap election in less than a year after a party quit the coalition government because he hid his father's involvement in seeking a clean record for a convicted paedophile.


Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said he preferred the election to be held in November, just over a year after the last snap vote which was triggered by the Panama Papers scandal.

The government collapsed on Friday after Bright Future left the three-party, centre-right coalition, stripping it of its one-seat parliamentary majority.

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

"There is nothing else to do in Iceland but to let the voters (decide)," he added.

Bright Future accused Benediktsson of failing to inform the government that his father had signed a letter supporting a convicted paedophile's bid to have his criminal record erased after serving five and a half years in prison.

Benediktsson's father, an entrepreneur named Benedikt Sveinsson, had given support to a man who was convicted in 2004 of having raped his stepdaughter almost every day for 12 years.

The last government collapsed over the Panama Papers scandal that embroiled several ministers and forced former prime minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to resign.

Benediktsson, who was implicated in the Panama Papers scandal that revealed offshore tax havens, had delayed the release of a report on tax evasion during the legislative campaign.


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