Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Politics

What you need to know about the rapidly growing field of candidates for the president of Iceland

By Staff

  • The latest of 12 candidates Hrannar Pétursson, born in 1973 in the town of Húsavík in North Iceland is the latest to announce he is running for the Icelandic Presidency. The number of candidates is expected to rise further in the coming weeks. Photo/visir.is

Two more candidates announced they would be running for the office of the President of Iceland. This brings the number of people who have announced their candidacy to twelve. The elections will be held this summer, June 25. The next president will assume office on August 1, when Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who has been in office since 1996, for five terms steps down.

Read more: Former Miss World mulls presidential run

Several people, who are expected to be strong candidates, are still mulling a run. The large number of candidates has led many political analysts to speculate that the next president of Iceland might end up being elected with less than 20% of the total votes cast.

Latest candidates: Former director of communication and chairman of a right wing fringe party
On Sunday Hrannar Pétursson announced his candidacy, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports. Hrannar is the former communications director for Vodafone Iceland and the aluminium smelter ISAL, Rio Tinto’s Iceland subsidiary. Hrannar has also advised the current Prime Minister of Iceland on press relations.

Read more: Estimated 40 percent of voters will experienced their first presidential election without president Ólafur Ragnar in 2016

Guðmundur Franklín Jónsson, the former chairman of the right wing fringe party Right-Greens also announced his candidacy, RÚV reports. Recently the party merged with a newly founded nationalist right wing party National Unity. Guðmundur said in an announcement that he had become “more and more aware of how lucky he was to have been born Icelandic, and how thankful he was for the privilege of growing up in our beautiful country.” 

Guðmundur Franklin is not the only fringe politician who has announced his candidacy. In January the founder of a political party called The Christian National Party announced he would be running for the preisdency, but then withdrew his announcement the next day.

Businesspeople, authors, poets and a chaplain
Four other candidates have announced their candidacy this month. Vigfús Bjarni Albertsson, chaplain at the National University Hospital and two prominent businesspeople, Halla Tómasdóttir, co-founder of Auður Capital financial services, Bæring Ólafsson, a former Chief Operating Officer of Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. The fourth was Heimir Örn Hólmarsson, a 35 year old electrical engineer.

Earlier two authors, poet Elísabet Jökulsdóttir and Þorgrímur Þráinsson, a prolific author of books for young adults and campaigner for healthy lifestyles had announced their candidacy.

A colourful mix including a serial candidate and an eccentric YouTube blogger
Four candidates, who political analysts believe are unlikely to appeal to a wide audience, have announced they would be running. These include Hildur Þórðardóttir, an energy healer and health food advocate who has been criticized for denouncing western science. Activist Sturla Jónsson, who became nationally known during the protests following the 2008 financial crash the “pots and pans revolution” but failed to turn this fame into a political career. Sturla made an unsuccessful run as an independent candidate in the 2013 parliamentary elections and the 2012 elections to a constitutional assembly. Ari Jósepsson, who is only known for his eccentric and rambling YouTube videos similarly announced he would be throwing his hat in the ring. Finally, the serial candidate Ástþór Magnússon announced he would be running. Ástþór, who is a peace activist, has previously attempted to run for president in every election since 1996, except the 2008 election.

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