20:34 GMT +319 July 2018
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    A Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 file photo of Bjarni Benediktsson of The Independence Party gesturing after the first results of the election in Reykjavik, Iceland.

    Iceland's PM Declares Snap General Election Amid Pedophilia Scandal

    © AP Photo / Frank Augstein
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    A snap parliamentary election was declared in Iceland after the government coalition collapsed against the background of the scandal over recommendation letters for pedophilia convicts.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Icelandic Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson announced on Friday that the country will hold a snap parliamentary election in the wake of the withdrawal of one of the parties from the coalition government.

    "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.

    The prime minister added that he was seeking to hold snap election this November.

    On Thursday, the Icelandic Bright Future party announced its decision to leave the government's coalition over "a serious breach of trust within the government." The scandal erupted over the fact that Benediktsson's father signed a recommendation letter for a person, convicted for pedophilia.

    Such letters are used in Iceland for "restoration of a honor" — a civil procedure, which allows people convicted of major crimes to regain employment opportunities. Starting July, three cases of such recommendation letters granted to pedophiles have been disclosed, which have immediately triggered condemnation among the Icelandic society and calls for abolition of such practice. On Thursday, the media reported that not only Benediktsson's father had signed such letter, but that Benediktsson was aware of this fact, but did not tell other coalition members.

    In October 2016, the Icelandic Independence Party won in the parliamentary elections, but since it did not have an absolute majority it was necessary to form a coalition with Reform Party and Bright Future party. The government was headed by Benediktsson, the Independence Party' leader.


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