Former PM Þorsteinn Pálsson calls President’s Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson’s reasoning for entering the presidential race “childish explanations.” Þorsteinn was interviewed on the Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV this morning. Yesterday, President Ólafur Ragnar announced at a press conference he had reconsidered his decision not to run for a sixth term, citing uncertainty and protests in society, as well as the likely difficulty of forming a government in the early elections this fall.
Þorsteinn asked, “Can we not replace the president when people gather peacefully on Austurvöllur square, according to their constitutionally protected rights? Can we not replace the president if forming a government can be expected to be tough, following the coming elections? If we come to the conclusion that such is the case, then we ought to change the constitution and elect a president for life.”
When asked about the president’s reasoning for entering the race, Þorsteinn answered, “Of course those are not arguments, and I don’t at all believe that the president considers those to be the real arguments. Those arguments are too ridiculous, and I don’t think he believes this himself. I think he simply wants to continue serving, and a sufficient number of people in society support him in that, and that’s just a democratic situation. I think it makes much more sense, and is more natural, to look at the issue the way it is, not to come up with such childish explanations which have no foundation.”
In an interview with RÚV last night, PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson welcomed the president’s decision to run. “He has served the nation well in past years, both nationally and not the least abroad, and the nation has shown before that it trusts him to do the job, and I suppose he’s answering the appeal of those who have spoken to him.”
He said he has worked well with Ólafur Ragnar and that he looks forward to continuing that cooperation, should that be the result of the election. He finds it likely that he will be reelected