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Panama Papers: Iceland’s Prime Minister Steps Aside Over Leaked Documents

Iceland's prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has stepped aside over documents leaked in the Panama Papers.

Iceland’s prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has stepped aside over documents leaked in the Panama Papers.

Earlier, Grasswire reported that Gunnlaugsson had resigned, but this was incorrect.

In a statement, Gunnlaugsson suggested that Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, the vice chairman of his Progressive party and current agriculture and fisheries minister, take over “for an unspecified amount of time.”

Since the publishing of documents on Sunday, Gunnlaugsson has come under intense pressure from opposition political parties and protesters to resign his position.

Gunnlaugsson had earlier sought to call new elections which would allow him to remain in office in the interim, but was turned down by Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the Guardian reports.

Earlier Tuesday, Jóhannsson told state broadcaster RUV that he would be replacing Gunnlaugsson as prime minister, but Gunnlaugsson would continue as leader of the Progressive party.

This would require the approval of both the president and coalition partner the right-wing Independence party.

Independence party leader and finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson has also appeared in the Panama Papers in connection with a Seychelles-based company of which he once owned a third. Benediktsson is reported to be in talks with Grímsson.

On Monday, thousands gathered outside the parliament building in central Reykjavik, banging drums and blowing whistles. The demonstration was held to call for elections following the Panama Papers revelations.

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