In his New Year’s address, Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson insinuated that, after 16 years in power, he did not intend to run for another term in office.
Ólafur, who was elected president in 1996, told the nation that many different issues are currently at stake regarding the future of the nation, among them changes to the constitution, and Iceland’s negotiations with the European Union. These issues were, in fact, among the reasons why different groups and individuals had encouraged him to remain on.
The president has at times been at odds with the government over both of these issues. He disagreed with the Prime Minister’s opinion that ethical guidelines were needed for the office of the president, and had expressed personal doubts to foreign media sources that joining the EU would be good for Iceland.
Ólafur’s political future is not over, though. He said that in choosing not to run, he would have “freedom to express my ideas and see to issues that are dear to me, and can also take part in the development of economics, science, research and job creation. There will also open new ways for me in the fight against climate change, bringing attention to clean energy, developing cooperation with other polar countries and leading countries on our continent, as well as increase the opportunities of young people and democracy in this country.”
With his decision, a 16-year term comes to an end. There is as yet no word on possible viable contenders for the office.
We have amended the original story, which stated that the President said he was not going to run. He didn’t say this directly, though he insinuated it.