Iceland’s senior minister resigns as government becomes first global political casualty of the credit crunch

Iceland’s Minister of Commerce Bjorgvin Sigurdsson has resigned, two days after the prime minister announced his own departure due to pressures from the island nation’s economic collapse.

Mr Sigurdsson, a member of Iceland’s junior Social Democrat coalition party, made the announcment at a news conference this morning.

‘I have decided to do this to take responsibility,’ he said.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde shocked the country on Friday when he said he would not seek re-election and called for a general election on May 9.

Bjorgvin Sigurdsson
Geir Haarde

Crunch victims: Bjorgvin Sigurdsson (left) has joined Prime Minister Geir Haarde, and resigned in response to the economic crisis and increasing dissent

The government of Iceland became the first in the world to be effectively brought down by the credit crunch.

It came after several nights of rioting over the financial crisis.

A poll would not normally be held until 2011.

Mr Haarde also revealed that he had been diagnosed with a malignant tumour of the oesophagus and would not seek re-election.

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