Iceland’s president has refused a request from the country’s embattled prime minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, to dissolve parliament and call snap elections until he has had time to consult all of the country’s political parties. As the island’s political crisis deepened on Tuesday, its president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, flew back early from a US visit to sound out party representatives in parliament, where the leftwing opposition has presented a motion of no confidence in Gunnlaugsson’s centre-right coalition government. Further mass protests were planned in Reykjavik for later on Tuesday as pressure mounted on the prime minister to resign following revelations in the leaked Panama Papers that his wife owned a secretive offshore investment company with multi-million pound claims on Iceland’s failed banks.
Iceland’s prime minister is this week expected to face calls in parliament for a snap election after the Panama Papers revealed he is among several leading politicians around the world with links to secretive companies in offshore tax havens. The financial affairs of Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and his wife have come under scrutiny because of details revealed in documents from a Panamanian law firm that helps clients protect their wealth in secretive offshore tax regimes. The files from Mossack Fonseca form the biggest ever data leak to journalists. Opposition leaders have this weekend been discussing a motion calling for a general election – in effect a confidence vote in the prime minister. On Monday, Gunnlaugsson is expected to face allegations from opponents that he has hidden a major financial conflict of interest from voters ever since he was elected an MP seven years ago.