Former conservative politician and Morgunblaðið co-editor Davíð Oddsson has announced his bid for President of Iceland.
Davíð made the announcement on the radio show Sprengisandi this morning, RÚV reports. He said that he had only made the decision to run “a few days ago”, and has decided to start his campaign immediately.
“I guess the explanation is I believe there could be one more course on the presidential menu and I could be a fit there, so people will have more choices than they’ve had recently,” he said by way of explaining why he made this decision. “I expect that my experience and knowledge, which is considerable, could be suited for this job. That’s the reason why I’ve headed off on this expedition.”
Davíð and the incumbent President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson have not exactly been the best of friends over the years. In 2004, Ólafur made the historic decision to be the first president to refuse to sign a bill into law, when he declined to put his signature on a media law crafted largely by Davíð. They have been political opponents on a number of issues long before then as well.
While Davíð admitted that he did not vote for Ólafur in 1996, when he first ran, he has nonetheless been pleased with some decisions the sitting president has made, such as his refusal to sign Icesave legislation.
Davíð is a legend in Icelandic politics, often one of the first cited as those amongst Iceland’s primary ideologues of the country’s conservative movement, and the Independence Party. He is currently co-editor of the newspaper Morgunblaðið, but his political career stretches back much farther than this.
Prior to his editor position, he was (and is) Iceland’s longest-serving Prime Minister, holding the position from 1991 to 2004, followed by a brief stint as Chairperson of the Central Bank, from 2005 to 2009. His time both as leader of the Independence Party and Iceland’s largest financial institution has been widely criticised as a contributing factor to Iceland’s 2008 financial collapse, in particular for his laissez-faire ideas about banking and finance.
He nonetheless managed to escape any legal consequences, apart from testifying at the trial of former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, who was accused of negligence and mismanagement during his term.
Since beginning his tenure as Morgunblaðið’s co-editor, he has focused mostly on the printed word, and is widely suspected to be the author of the paper’s notorious anonymous column, Staksteinn.
Presidential elections will be held on June 25.
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