Scandal shakes Icelandic politics as secret recordings made at a local bar reveal six MP’s discussing political backchanneling in appointing ambassadors to the United States and Finland. The tapes, first revealed by DV on Wednesday, also reveal the MP’s making misogynistic remarks and mocking a disabled former MP. All three MP‘s are members of the opposition, four are members of The Centre Party (Miðflokkurinn) and two are members of The People‘s Party (Flokkur fólksins). One of the MP‘s is Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, former PM that resigned after the Panama Papers scandal in 2016. Other MP‘s include Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, former foreign minister, who also made a homophobic remark.
Steingrímur Sigfússon, president of the parliament, has said he is devastated by the revelations and calls are being made for the MP’s to resign.
The recordings, witch are 3 hours and 41 minutes long in duration, were made on the evening of November 20 and were sent anonymously to DV and Stundin. Today DV revealed the recordings were made via a mobile phone by an outraged member of the public that did not recognize all of the MP’s, the MP’s noticed the person but mistook the would be informant for a tourist. The bar in question is Klaustur Downtown Bar, across the street from the Icelandic parliament. Parliament was still in session when the MP’s sat down at the bar.
Sveinsson is heard describing how he appointed former Left Green MP Árni Þór Sigurðsson as an ambassador to Finland to divert public attention from the appointing of former PM Geir H. Haarde as an ambassador to The United States of America. Sveinsson tells his colleagues how the Independence Party in 2014 put pressure on him to appoint Haarde as an ambassador, in turn Sveinsson himself could later expect an appointment as ambassador. Sveinsson has said this was a lie and has apologized to Bjarni Benediksson, former PM now finance minister. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, current foreign minister, says Sveinsson can not expect to be appointed an ambassador. Haarde is still ambassador to the United States, he will leave the office in July 2019. Sigurðsson is now Iceland ambassador to Finland.
The secret tapes also reveal various misogynistic comments. MP’s Sveinsson, Gunnlaugsson and Bergþór Ólason discuss current education minister Lilja Alfreðsdóttir and her sex appeal. They are heard saying: “Who the fuck is that bitch?” and “Fuck that bitch”. They also discuss former MP Freyja Haraldsdóttir, who is disabled, and one of the MP‘s makes a seal sound during the discussions. They also discuss People Party leader Inga Sæland and call her a “cunt” who “cried her way into parliament”. The People Party has called for the resignations of the two People Party MP’s that were present, Ólafur Ísleifsson and Karl Gauti Hjaltason.