Casting For A New Mayor - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Casting For A New Mayor

Casting For A New Mayor

Anna's 41st Editorial

Anna Andersen
Photo by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

Published May 26, 2014

Anna's 41st Editorial

Four years ago, a comedian decided to run for mayor of Reykjavík. He created a not-so-political party, audaciously named The Best Party, and began campaigning on a bunch of empty promises to do things like bring a polar bear to the zoo and offer free towels at the swimming pool. Oh, and then he won. But of course you’ve heard this story. By now, it’s probably safe to say that  were it not for Toronto’s Rob Ford and his crack-fueled antics, Jón Gnarr would be the world’s most notorious mayor.

But apparently being mayor is not all kicks and giggles, as Jón Gnarr has decided not to run for a second term. Even sticking out a single term in Reykjavík seems to be a great accomplishment though—only two mayors since 1980 have managed to do that.

Given the historical significance of this event, we thought we’d come full-circle and interview him again, four years after we first sat him down to figure out what on earth he was thinking running for mayor. You should definitely turn to page 19 to read the interview, as he has a lot of interesting things to say about his time in office and more generally about the state of politics in Reykjavík and Iceland.

As elections are now fast approaching, do also take the time to read through our ‘Election Guide’ on pages 10-16. To help you make heads or tails of the eight parties running, we sent them all a set of 24 questions and you’ll find a selection of their answers in this issue and the rest of them online. There’s certainly no Best Party in the running, but I will say that some of the party’s answers look an awful lot like notes for a future stand-up routine. And that’s not a joke.

NOTE: Our cover this issue is inspired by the 1979 film ‘Being There.’ You might want to see it.

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