Despite what the general public was led to believe a few years ago, it has come to light that Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir does, in fact, have a good command of the English language.
During the last parliamentary election season, the foreign media came to Iceland in droves in order to follow this historic event. This entailed various journalists trying to get interviews with the chairpersons of different parties. As foreign journalists often do not speak or understand Icelandic, these interviews were invariably conducted in English.
While interviews with most Icelandic politicians in English went smoothly, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was difficult to get an interview with, and when it was achieved, she used an interpreter. This sparked a great deal of interest in the Icelandic news, and even brought on criticism from her opponents; contending that as a political leader must communicate with foreign powers as a part of their job, a prime minister who cannot speak English would be detrimental.
However, DV now reports that Jóhanna conducted a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden yesterday, in English, without the use of an interpreter. She told reporters, among other things, that even though she was turning 70 and still working, she intended to keep working until she was 100.
Below is a clip from Stöð 2 news at the time of the previous elections, reporting on the English skills of various politicians.
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