New Mayor Takes Office in Reykjavík

Einar Þorsteinsson, city counsellor for the Progressive Party, was voted in as Mayor of Reykjavík at a meeting of City Council today.

Einar is serving his first term in the council after leading his party to its best result in Reykjavík to this day in the 2022 municipal election. He formed a coalition with the Social Democratic Alliance, the Reform Party and the Pirate Party. He’s served as chair of the City Executive Council since the election. Outgoing mayor, Dagur B. Eggertsson of the Social Democratic Alliance, will take over as chair until the end of the term, when he’s announced he will leave city politics behind.

From TV news to city politics

Einar is 45 years old and had a notable career as a TV news anchor and host of RÚV talk show Kastljós before entering politics in 2022. The Progressive Party had no representation in City Council in the preceding term, but Einar’s campaign received just under 19% of the total vote and four seats. As a result, the party was in a strong position to decide on how to form a majority, opting to join up with three of the four parties that formed the previous majority coalition. An agreement was made that Dagur would step down as mayor 18 months into the term to make way for Einar.

Ten year run as mayor

Dagur is the longest-tenured city councillor in Reykjavík and has been mayor since 2014. He entered City Council in 2002 as an independent member for Reykjavíkurlistinn, the centre-left alliance that ended the conservative Independence Party’s dominance in city politics. He later joined the Social Democratic Alliance and became vice-chairman of the party during Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir’s term as prime minister from 2009 to 2013. He has not ruled out a further career in politics and has been rumoured as a potential Alþingi candidate in the upcoming 2025 general election.

Lava Flow from Grindavík Fissures Stops

No activity has been observed in the fissures north of Grindavík since 1:08 AM this morning and the volcanic eruption seems to have petered out, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office. The situation will be assessed in the daily meeting of scientists later this morning, Vísir reports.

The southern fissure that opened up near Grindavik had ceased erupting yesterday, having claimed three houses in town. Lava still flowed from the northern fissure, but protective barriers that had been built to divert the lava flow away from the town had proven effective. This flow now appears to have stopped.

New crevasses forming

“There are many new crevasses in Grindavík,” Elísabet Pálmadóttir from the Icelandic Meteorological Office told Vísir this morning. “The police was in contact with us in the night. They had been flying drones over the area and taking photos of new and growing crevasses. It’s devastating.”

She added that the ground is constantly shifting, with new crevasses emerging while others grow larger. Considerable damage has been done to the town so far. Grindavík is without electricity, hot water, and cold water, and lava has reportedly poured over water piping to the area.

Helping Grindavík

There are numerous ways in which you can provide support for the people of Grindavík, even if you do not live in Iceland. The Icelandic Red Cross has set up a page with donation options for those wishing to lend support. This includes both one-time donations and repeat subscriptions.