Icelandic ex-prime minister drops out of right-wing extremist meeting in Sweden after media coverage | Expo.se

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Icelandic ex-prime minister drops out of right-wing extremist meeting in Sweden after media coverage

Publicerad 2022-08-05 10:20

Uppdaterad: 
2022-08-05 16:45
Islands före detta statsminister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson ska delta på den högerextrema bok- och mediemässan

The chairman of the Center Party in Iceland and former prime minister Sigmundur Daví∂ Gunnlaugsson will participate in a swedish far-right book fair.

Iceland's former prime minister Sigmundur Daví∂ Gunnlaugsson was to participate in a far-right meeting in Sweden called Svenska bok- och mediemässan. Expo in collaboration with the Icelandic magazine for investigative journalism Stundin could earlier today reveal that Gunnlaugsson with his participation would be making common cause with an elite of Swedish far-right extremists. Now the former prime minister drops out after media coverage.

Sigmundur Daví∂ Gunnlaugsson is the chairman of the Center Party in Iceland and the former prime minister who was exposed in the Panama Papers as having hidden money in tax havens. The revelation led to large demonstrations in Iceland. The prime minister was forced to resign in 2016, new elections were called and Icelanders’ trust in the elected politicians was driven to rock bottom. Gunnlaugsson has later on said that the disclosure of his name in the documents was a conspiracy by George Soros and the international media establishment.

Stands with right-wing extremist elite

In posts in social media, the organizer of the meeting writes that the former prime minister will give a speech at the meeting. With his participation, the former PM would be making common cause with some of Sweden’s most prominent right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists.

Expo’s research shows that a majority of the speakers at the meeting have a personal engagement in the right-wing extremist milieu in Sweden.

Behind the event ”Svenska bok- och mediemässan” (”Swedish book and media convention”) is the far-right group Nätverket. The meeting’s list of announced speakers and participants includes the Holocaust denier Jüri Lina and right-wing extremists Arne Weinz and Theodor Stiebel. Weinz has repeatedly incited towards both Muslims and Jews in posts in social media. Theodor Stiebel, who under the name Alexander Johansson is a moderator for the meeting, demonstrated in 2016 with the nazi Nordic Resistance Movement.

In addition, a number of far-right influencers and profiles from Swedish far-right media, representatives of the far-right political party Alternative for Sweden and leading figures from the Swedish conspiracist milieu who have spread conspiracy theories about the covid-19 pandemic are participating.

Tries to normalize with celebrity names

Since it was founded, Svenska bok- och mediemässan has tried to wash away the far-right profile that the list of participants comes with. By inviting well-known names from outside of the extreme right, they want to avoid the extremist label.

Earlier in the summer, the Swedish entrepreneur Jan-Emanuel Johansson was announced as one of the convention’s poster names. When it dawned on Johansson which context he had agreed to participate in, he chose to drop out.

- When I now look more closely, I see that both the organizer and many of the participants are right-wing extremists. That’s not something I want to be associated with, Jan Emanuel Johansson says to Swedish daily Expressen.

Other famous people from Sweden who have chosen to participate in previous years include the actor Ulf Brunnberg and the artist Dogge Doggelito from The Latin Kings.

Drops out and refers to ”parliamentarian matters”

The former prime minister Gunnlaugsson won’t answer to Stundin’s questions or interview requests despite several tries to reach him via mail and phone.

But in a comment to the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter he now states that he cancels his participation.

“I was asked to participate in the book fair to give insight into Iceland’s experience in dealing with financial crises in the light of the current economic development. However, I had to cancel my participation due to parliamentary matters in Iceland”, he writes in an email to Dagens Nyheter.

The Icelandic parliament starts its activities again after the summer three weeks after the Svenska bok- och mediamässan takes place.


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