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 Pawel Bartoszek, running for the Reform Party in the 2nd 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?)
I want to make sure that the ideals of liberalism are represented in the Reykjavík City Council. I want a city that is egalitarian, international, service-oriented and well-run.
2. Why do you believe it’s important for immigrants to take part in municipal elections?
They should run to provide their vision of how things should be. They should vote to choose the vision they think will work best.
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?
It varies based on one’s background. For some, just getting their kennitala can be a huge hassle, others face legal hurdles when starting a business. We want all applications to be available in English and we would like the city to provide checklists and guidance for all new inhabitants.