Mag
Feature
Meet The Immigrant Candidates: René Biasone of the Left-Greens

Meet The Immigrant Candidates: René Biasone of the Left-Greens

Photos by
VG

Published May 18, 2018

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 René Biasone, running for the Left-Greens in the 5th 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 hope I can bring a good contribution to the field of social inclusion and vanquish the prejudice towards people that are different from us. I believe that Icelandic society will greatly benefit from a system in which both native Icelanders and immigrants have the same opportunity to personally develop and I will do my best to pursue this goal. As a specialist in the protection of the natural environment (I work at Umhverfisstofnun—the Environment Agency of Iceland), I would, of course, also make my knowledge available to the City Council, and contribute to manage and improve the beautiful natural areas that we can find in and around the Capital.

2. Why do you believe it’s important for immigrants to take part in municipal elections?
In general, it is always important for immigrants to find the sense of belonging in a new community by participating in social activities such as singing in choirs, playing in team sports or joining charity societies. I believe it is important for the immigrants to see that Icelandic society is including them in the political arena—feeling respected not only because of being a good and trustworthy workforce but also as a recognition of the cultural and intellectual contribution to Icelandic society. And last but not least, I feel that my fellow members in the Left-Greens find it very important to hear my opinion and ask me to share my approach to issues in a variety of fields, from social inclusion and education to the health and environment. For the Icelandic people, it is also an example that reduces the suspicion or mistrust.

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?
Immigrants with children have the challenge of settling down in one neighborhood for a longer period of time so they can integrate in the local society—that is, establish an amicable relationship with other families, and have more chances also to improve the use of the Icelandic language, which I believe is also very important for settling down in Iceland. I believe that the Left-Green Party is, more than the other political parties, caring about these aspects.

Check out the overview of the other immigrant candidates’ interviews here, and the other election coverage here!


Mag
Feature
The Peacemaker: The Legacy of Haukur Hilmarsson

The Peacemaker: The Legacy of Haukur Hilmarsson

by

It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time when Icelanders adamantly believed that protesting was just

Mag
Feature
A Wide Range Of Voices: A Glimpse Into The Current Icelandic Poetry Scene

A Wide Range Of Voices: A Glimpse Into The Current Icelandic Poetry Scene

by

Crowds gather to listen to poetry, cram into tiny spaces to attend poetry evenings and queue to receive a poem

Mag
Feature
Songs Of The Dammed: Hvalárvirkjun And The Future Of Árneshreppur

Songs Of The Dammed: Hvalárvirkjun And The Future Of Árneshreppur

by

When people talk about Iceland’s economic boom days, they are largely referring to the greater Reykjavík area. Roads are repaired

Mag
Feature
The March Of Progress: The National Queer Organisation Turns 40

The March Of Progress: The National Queer Organisation Turns 40

by

Samtökin ‘78 (literally “the ‘78 organisation”, with its official English name being The National Queer Organisation) celebrated its 40th anniversary

Mag
Feature
Odysseus Reborn: Daníel Bjarnason Brings His Wartime Opera Home

Odysseus Reborn: Daníel Bjarnason Brings His Wartime Opera Home

by

Daníel Bjarnason has presence. He exudes the sort of poise you notice from across a room. When he talks, he’s

Mag
Feature
Municipal Elections 2018: Reykjavík Is Boring

Municipal Elections 2018: Reykjavík Is Boring

by

Municipal elections are a great opportunity for immigrants to participate more in the democratic process. You don’t need to be

Show Me More!