Parliamentary Party Leaders Satisfied With New President - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Parliamentary Party Leaders Satisfied With New President

Published August 2, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

The leaders of Iceland’s parliamentary parties were amongst those at the inauguration, and shared their thoughts about President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

RÚV paid a visit to the Guðni’s inauguration, where he officially assumed office as Iceland’s 6th president. These parties often disagree fundamentally on many subjects, but were on this occasion all in agreement with their satisfaction with the country’s new head of state.

“The address (English link – Ed.) was very good; fair, balanced, and underlining the good in society,” Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson told reporters. “We are of course prepared to make further improvements, but I thought the speech was good.”

Pirate Party captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir expressed approval of the address’ emphasis on “hope and changing times”, adding, “I agree with a lot of the things expressed in the address; calling for different times than we’ve been experiencing for a long time now. So I was quite pleased.”

“I thought it was a good speech and I found especially important the message he brought about an open and varied society,” Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakobsdóttir told reporters. “Because we live in times where so much emphasis is placed on differentiation; whether we look to Europe or towards the west. So I think this emphasis on an open and varied society where everyone should be able to pursue happiness, the emphasis on cooperation and empathy, I think that’s important.”

“He assumes the office with great humility, ready to listen and learn and possibly make mistakes,” Independence Party chairperson Bjarni Benediktsson said. “And all of this with the feeling that he is taking on this office with great humility.”

Social Democrat chairperson Oddný G. Harðardóttir also emphasised Guðni’s humility, calling him “a regular man”, and Bright Future chairperson Óttarr Proppé added that he believes Guðni will be “a president for us all, a symbol of unification. This matters a great deal.”

Guðni won last June’s presidential elections with just over 39% of the vote, some 11 points ahead of the nearest contender, entrepreneur and lecturer Halla Tómasdóttir. In his acceptance speech, Guðni said that the campaign had been stressful, especially when the first round of ballots had been counted. He said that he trusts he will have the continued support of the country, as important work awaits him, adding that he will devote himself to being the unifying force that Icelanders deserve.


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