Record Number of Presidential Candidates in Iceland

Bessastaðir, official residence of the President of Iceland.

There are 11 official candidates in Iceland’s Presidential election this June 1. The National Electoral Commission has reviewed the documents of all 13 candidates who submitted their endorsements last Friday, ruling two applications as invalid, RÚV reports. The number of official candidates is a record for the country, and includes Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who resigned as Prime Minister in order to run.

Submitted only nine endorsements

Candidates hoping to run in a presidential election in Iceland must collect and submit a minimum of 1,500 endorsements (signatures of support) from all four quadrants of the country. One of the two candidates whose application was deemed invalid had submitted only nine signatures of endorsement. The other was several hundred endorsements short of the minimum.

Read More: How do I become President of Iceland?

Between Iceland’s first presidential election in 1952 until the 2004 election, there were never more than four candidates running for the position, and on two occasions there were just two candidates. Since 2004, the number of candidates in presidential elections has grown. In 2012 there were six official candidates and in 2016 there were nine. In Iceland’s last presidential election, in 2020, there were only two.

The presidential candidates are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Arnar Þór Jónsson
  • Ásdís Rán Gunnarsdóttir
  • Ástþór Magnússon Wium
  • Baldur Þórhallsson
  • Eiríkur Ingi Jóhannsson
  • Halla Hrund Logadóttir
  • Halla Tómasdóttir
  • Helga Þórisdóttir
  • Jón Gnarr
  • Katrín Jakobsdóttir
  • Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir

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Successful Litter Clean-Up Day Across Iceland

Plokk trash litter garbage cleanup

Around 1,000 people participated in Iceland’s annual litter clean-up day (Stóri Plokkdagurinn) yesterday. Some volunteers in the Reykjavík capital area filled large garbage bags in a matter of 15 minutes. One volunteer says Icelanders are not huge litterbugs and it’s the island’s strong winds that contribute to spreading trash.

Iceland’s Rotary Clubs and the Icelandic Red Cross were some of the organisations that got volunteers together and helped provide equipment for yesterday’s clean up operations. Volunteers picked up all sorts of trash, including large amounts of plastic. Car parts such as windshield wipers and even licence plates were among the litter that was bagged and properly disposed of.

“Icelanders aren’t such big litterbugs,” one volunteer told RÚV. “It’s just our wind that is sometimes a big influencer when it comes to distributing trash.”

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Fewer Resources Lead to More Armed Robberies

Prozac pills

Two armed robberies took place in pharmacies in the Reykjavík capital area on Saturday afternoon. The director of the Pharmaceutical Society of Iceland told RÚV it’s unfortunate that resources for people struggling with addiction have been shut down with nothing to replace them. She says the problem must be addressed holistically.

An armed robbery took place in the Vesturbær neighbourhood near downtown Reykjavík last Saturday afternoon. The three perpetrators were apprehended afterwards while attempting to flee the scene. The perpetrators threatened staff with a sharp weapon and went behind the counter, where they demanded narcotics and other drugs. Another unarmed robbery occurred at Smáratorg shopping plaza in Kópavogur the same day. The perpetrator was also apprehended shortly after the act.

Read More: Opioid Addiction in Iceland

Sigurbjörg Sæunn Guðmundsdóttir, director of the Pharmaceutical Society of Iceland, says there is no data to show whether robberies are becoming more common in pharmacies. “They have been increasing n certain countries, and in those countries, what I am concerned about, pharmacists are scared away and you just can’t get them to work there because their safety is threatened.”

She adds, however, that the problem must be addressed holistically. “We maybe need to map out; who is committing these robberies, which drugs are being stolen, is there something we can do as a society, are there some sort of resources missing?”

Resources cut out without being replaced

In December of last year, authorities revoked the licence of rheumatologist Árni Tómas Ragnarsson to prescribe certain drugs. For many years, Árni had prescribed morphine to individuals struggling with addiction for the purpose of harm reduction. Sigurbjörg says there may be a connection between that decision and the recently reported robberies.

“Because there was a group that one specific doctor was attending to. Though not using recognised methods. Everything is pulled from underneath those unrecognised methods. And no other processes put in to replace them.”

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