President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has just announced he is withdrawing from his re-election campaign.
According to a statement released on the official page of the Office of the President, Ólafur Ragnar says that while the Panama Papers protests and opinion polls had compelled him to run for a sixth term, recent events have made him re-think this decision.
As such, Ólafur writes that he considers it “democratic and natural, after having served in this officer for 20 years,” that he step aside and let other candidates run instead.
Recent events had compelled the sitting president to question whether or not he would continue his re-election campaign.
Appearing on Stöð 2’s Eyjan yesterday, RÚV reports, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson told viewers that the recent announcements of Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Davíð Oddsson that they are also running for president had caused him to re-think his position.
When pressed to answer Yes or No to whether or not he will be on the ballot at the end of June, Ólafur was evasive.
“You have to sincerely evaluate matters when such a situation arises, in light of what I have said, what I have thought and what I want,” Ólafur said. “One must sit down and take stock of these changing circumstances. But I haven’t made up my mind.”
The President’s latest announcement now means he is decidedly off the ballot, and may remain there – the deadline for announcing one’s candidacy for expires later this month.
As reported, the President was already facing intense media scrutiny over the connections the family of his wife, Dorrit Moussaieff, has to offshore tax shelters named in the Panama Papers when Guðni officially announced his candidacy. Guðni is already polling on a relatively even keel with the President.
Ólafur’s decades-long political opponent, Davíð Oddsson, also running for the office has changed the face of the elections even further, as many have speculated Davíð could pull a significant share of votes away from Ólafur.
Presidential elections in Iceland will be held on June 25.