As we’ve emphasised (as a lot of people don’t seem to know this), you don’t need to be a citizen to vote in municipal elections. By the same token, you don’t need to be a citizen to run, either. While being an immigrant does not necessarily mean you’re not a citizen, immigrants in Iceland of any legal status bring a fresh perspective to politics that locals simply don’t have.
In keeping with this, we contacted every single foreign-born candidate running for Reykjavík City Council this year and asked them the same three questions. Here’s Elsa Nore, running for the Pirate Party in the 10th seat.
1. What are you most hoping to accomplish, should you get into Reykjavík City Council? (If you are at the 24th seat or below, what are you hoping your candidacy will do for your party?)
A fundamental goal of the Pirate Party is to make information accessible to the population and give people possibilities to take part in decision making.
2. Why do you believe it’s important for immigrants to take part in municipal elections?
Everyone living in Iceland is part of our community and should have a say in how the society works. Voting is one of many ways to influence what kind of city we live in and share between us.
3. What is, in your opinion, the greatest challenge that immigrants in Reykjavík face when it comes to settling in the city and trying to make a life for themselves?
Access to society and information about rights and services in English or their native language, how and where to seek assistance when needed and the possibility to have a translator when dealing with bureaucracy.