Most – but not all – parties running for Reykjavík City Hall have pledged not to use fear or hatred of foreigners as a campaign tactic for next week’s elections.
Sabine Leskopf, who is running for the Social Democrats, posted a list of those parties who agreed to a very simple pledge: “We support Reykjavík as an intercultural city and will not use hate speech or try to cash in on prejudice against immigrants in the coming campaign.”
The parties who agreed to the pledge are the following:
The Social Democrats, the People’s Front of Iceland, the Reform Party, the Independence Party, the Progressive Party, the Socialist Party, the Women’s Movement, the Pirate Party and the Left-Greens.
While encouraging, this means that seven parties opted to not take the pledge. Those parties are the People’s Party, the Freedom Party, the Icelandic National Front, the Centre Party, the Capital City List, the Men’s Movement, and Our City – Reykjavík. The Centre Party, while also not taking the pledge, issued a statement saying that they would abide Icelandic law regarding discrimination. This does not, it must be emphasised, necessarily mean not trying “to cash in on prejudice against immigrants in the coming campaign.”
These results are unsurprising where some of the parties who refused to take the pledge are concerned. Both the Icelandic National Front and the Freedom Party have taken hardline stances on immigration, and the People’s Party did make inaccurate statements about asylum seekers prior to last year’s parliamentary elections. Our City – Reykjavík is led by Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, who actively evoked Islamophobia during her campaign when she was in the Progressive Party in 2014.
There are many more immigrants running for City Council this year than in years previous and, as a reminder: you do not have to be a citizen to vote in municipal elections.
Voting day for city elections is on May 26.