What Do Icelandic Voters Want? - The Reykjavik Grapevine

What Do Icelandic Voters Want?

Published June 20, 2016

Photos by
Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir

An online poll from public broadcasting shows Icelanders have very strong opinions on what the President should, or should not, be able to do.

Public broadcasting system RÚV has set up an online poll (in Icelandic), asking respondents for their positions on presidential power. Their responses brought numerous interesting points to light.

According to the findings, 82% want to set term limits for the Presidency. Currently, there are none, but a draft for a new constitution includes an article that would limit the President to three terms.

At the same time, almost everyone believes the Office the Presidency needs to have ethics regulations – something outgoing President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was against – and 95% said they believe the President should defend Iceland’s interests, whether towards foreign heads of state or the international press.

Naturally, not all Icelanders were in complete agreement on everything. On the question of whether or not the President ought to use their powers to push back against the policies of the parliamentary government, Icelanders were almost evenly divided.

Some presidential roles proved decidedly unpopular with most Icelanders, too. For example, only 22% believe the President should defend “Christian values”.

To learn more about where the individual presidential candidates stand on the issues, check out our Meet the Candidates presidential feature.


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