From Iceland — Kopavogur Primaries: A Political Roller Coaster

Kopavogur Primaries: A Political Roller Coaster

Published February 22, 2010

The Independence Party held primaries over the weekend for who will be where on their party’s list of candidates for city council of Kópavogur. In a town where the previous mayor had to resign under a cloud of corruption, yet ran again, drama was bound to occur.
Gunnar I. Birgisson, the previous mayor of Kópavogur, had to resign from his position last year when investigations began into allegations of nepotism and corruption. Among the allegations was that he had awarded sweetheart contracts to a company owned by his daughter. Birgisson has denied the charges against him, but stepped down while investigations went on. He vowed to run again for mayor, and did, campaigning for the first seat on the list.
Over the weekend, a mysterious letter was distributed to many of the town’s residents, addressed to members of the sporting club HK. In the letter, the reader was encouraged to vote in the Independence Party primaries, regardless of party affiliation, and vote for Ármann Kr. Ólafsson, Birgisson’s challenger.
Whether the letter had any effect or not, the outcome was such that Ólafsson won the first seat. In second, there was former director of the Office of Immigration Hildur Dungal. Birgisson landed in third. This means that while he will probably end up on town council, he will not be mayor.
When questioned by Vísir, Ólafsson told reporters that he was unsure whether or not the discussion of political corruption in the town had anything to do with the voting result.

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