Iceland's PM Declares Snap General Election Amid Pedophilia Scandal

Iceland's PM Declares Snap General Election Amid Pedophilia Scandal

The ruling center-right coalition of the conservative Independence Party, led by Benediktsson, the center-right Reform Party and the centrist Bright Future, was formed only nine months ago after the October vote.

"But in this situation there is nothing else to do except to have an election and I will do my utmost so that elections will take place as soon as possible", Benediktsson said, as quoted by the Iceland Monitor media outlet.

Bright Future accused Benediktsson of failing to tell 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.

His Independence party are accused of trying to hide a letter written by his father, Benedikt Sveinsson, had written recommending that his friend, Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson - who was convicted in 2004 for repeatedly raping his stepdaughter from the age of five to 17 - have his "honour restored".

It follows the alleged cover-up by Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson of a scandal involving his father.

"I could never sign such a letter and I would never defend such a deed", Benediktsson said.

"That goes against our policies here at Bright Future on transparency and a good way of working", party leader Ottarr Proppe said.

Benediktsson's father, Benedikt Sveinsson, had helped a convicted child molester apply for a clause within Iceland's judicial system allowing a person who has served their sentence for a serious crime to "restore their honor" and seek employment again.

The Prime Minister said on Friday he was "shocked" to hear of his father's letter and never tried to hide anything.

A letter of recommendation is among the requirements to apply for the process.

"The Pirate Party calls on all other parliamentary parties to comply with this call and invites the president of approve a new constitution before the parliamentary assembly is suspended", Birgitta Jonsdottir wrote on Facebook.

Mr Sveinsson said he had not discussed the letter with anyone.

"I believe that we will get past this very fast", Benediktsson said.

Iceland's public broadcaster said the prime minister's Independence Party found out about the letter back in July but didn't disclose it.

"What was supposed to be a small gesture of good will towards a convicted criminal has instead turned into a continuation of the tragedy for the victim".

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