Brand New Candidate Closes In On Incumbent President - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Brand New Candidate Closes In On Incumbent President

Published May 6, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

A historian who officially announced his candidacy only yesterday is already almost neck-in-neck with President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.

RÚV reports that Guðni Th. Jóhann­es­son officially announced that he is running for President yesterday. At a press conference held in Kópavogur, Guðni emphasised amongst other things that the President should be a “unifying symbol” for the country. In more practical terms, he said that amongst the issues he would focus on as President is pushing for changes to the Constitution that would allow a decided percentage of the population to call for a national referendum on legislation.

“The President must concern themselves with changes to the Constitution,” he told reporters. “[The Constitution] needs to have a provision that a decided percentage of voters can demand a referendum on controversial matters. Direct democracy should not mean having to march to Bessastaðir [the presidential residence] with a petition in one hand and a road flare in the other, and request being allowed to vote on that which matters to us,” referencing demonstrations that have taken place at Bessastaðir in the past.

Despite this late start, Guðni is already polling quite well. According to a new poll conducted by Fréttablaðið, Stöð 2 and Vísir, if elections were held today, 45% said they would vote for Ólafur, while 38% said they would vote for Guðni.

Ólafur announced he was running for a sixth term last month, to a decidedly mixed reception. Recent news of his wife Dorrit Moussaieff’s ties to offshore companies named in the Panama Papers has put him on the defensive.

Presidential elections will be held this June 25.


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