Baldur started his career as a wireless operator on board a fishing boat, and moved on to become an air traffic controller at Reykjavík city airport. Meanwhile, he also set up Iceland´s first security firm, Varði. In the past years he has lived in Britain where he has been engaged in property business.
This is his first time to the presidential elections. With privately funded campaign headquarters, merchandise, television and press advertising, his campaign has the feel of something that could build momentum in the three weeks allotted to it. Grapevine asked him about the referendum.
“I personally believe that Ólafur Ragnar should not have used it on a smallish issue such as media bill. It is a bit like a lifeboat. You don’t use it when you want to go on a trip, you use it when there is an emergency and this was not an emergency. The fact that nobody has used it for 60 years is proof that parliament has done a good job. This a local issue, it is reversible. It is not a time to use the lifeboat. It is there for instances such as the introduction of the death penalty which are irreversible. What has happened as a result of the president not signing is a division of the nation.”
Why did he decide to break with tradition and run against an incumbent president?
“My feeling is that the respect for the Presidency has gone down in recent years. I look back to the times of Kristján Eldjárn and Vigdís. They managed to be neutral; they were the father and mother of the nation and everyone looked up to them. They did not belong to a political group. I want to go back to that time. The president can do more locally. The president is first and foremost a President for Icelanders. The bulk of his work should be in this country. He should, of course, support industry and culture abroad but mainly his work is here. Crime, drugs, deteriorating health systems, the young carrying too much debt – I would get involved in this issues.”
How would you present Iceland overseas?
“We can teach by example if we can build a society which is harmony and happiness. Show them that it is possible to bear down on drugs and crime. That would be a wonderful example to show other people.”
Have you had a fair hearing in the media?
“I have no complaints. I will say that the campaign started a little late, but I have been treated fairly.”