Trial of former Iceland PM will continue following parliamentary challenge

The Icelandic parliament has voted in favour of continuing the criminal court case against former prime minister Geir H. Haarde for negligence in his handling of the banking crash.

More accurately, Alþingi MPs voted in favour of a resolution to dismiss a proposal from the leader of Geir’s Independence Party calling for the trial to be cancelled. The resolution which passed means that MPs will not now vote directly on whether to cancel the case or not. The trial will therefore continue, with the main proceedings set to start on Monday.

33 MPs voted in favour of the resolution, 27 voted against, two were absent and one member present did not vote.

Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson responded by telling Vísir.is, “I realised that there was a lot of conflict behind the scenes. Political parties have pulled rank over this resolution and MPs have been put under a lot of pressure,” he said on the dismissal of his proposal.

Bjarni claimed that many MPs who voted in favour of throwing out his proposal did so with the interest of the current government’s survival in mind, and not because they really want the trial to continue. “This is not a blow to me; far, far from it. This is a blow to the treatment of prosecutions in this country and to respect for the fundamentals of human rights,” Bjarni said.