Q&A With Presidential Candidates: Hannes Bjarnason Skip to content

Q&A With Presidential Candidates: Hannes Bjarnason

In an effort to introduce the six presidential candidates better to the readers of icelandreview.com in time for the election on June 30, each of them was asked to answer five questions about themselves and their policies.

Their answers will be posted in the order of response.


Hannes and Charlotte with their children. Source: jaforseti.is.

First is Hannes Bjarnason. Born in 1971, Hannes is a farmer’s son from north Iceland who has lived in Norway for the past 14 years. That’s where he met his wife, Charlotte Kvalvik. They have one daughter and three children from past relationships. Hannes works in change management in Oslo.


1. What qualities do you have that would make you a good president?

I have excellent communication skills, and I am a really good listener (just ask my wife;)) During my working experience, I have learned how to make people work together, and in the same direction for the same goal.

It can be challenging to bring people from different cultures, with different ideas and habits together and create an equal understanding to reach for the same goal. The president should also have a good judgment and be rich in ethics and have a high moral standard.

In my mind, he or she should not have any connections to groups of interests or any political parties, he should be neutral.

I believe that it is quite important because the nation needs a president whom they can trust, and that is not under any institutional control, but speaks for the nation, and always has the best interest for the people and society in mind and heart!

2. What are the three most important goals you want to achieve as president?

I would really like to work on the issues that are challenging the nation. By that I would like to pick up on moral and ethics. I would like to bring more ethics and moral into the work of the president and of the population.

The president alone cannot make the changes in the society, but he can be a constant reminder that there are issues that need to be dealt with, such as bullying or victimization.

As president, I would also try to build tolerance between different groups in society that have different views on different subjects which are causing disagreements and mistrust amongst the citizens of Iceland.

Last but not least, I believe that as president of Iceland, it is also very important to represent Iceland abroad and try to create opportunities for the Icelandic culture and the various industries.

3. On what issues will you focus when representing Iceland abroad?

I wish to focus on the beautiful and powerful nature, our remarkable history and colorful culture. Besides that, it is important to represent the different sectors of the working life, mostly in general terms.

4. Under which circumstances should the president use the 26th article of the constitution, that is, veto legislations and refer them to national referendums?

The right to veto legislations should mainly be used if the liberty of Iceland is under threat. The president should be aware of the danger of using this legislation, that it has the ability to split the nation.

Still, the president should not be afraid to use the 26th article of the constitution, if he or she thinks that is the only right thing to do for the democracy and for the people.

5. Should the president take a stand on controversial issues, such as European Union membership, and publicly express his/her views on them?

I believe that the president should speak his voice on such controversial issues as the EU, which concern the whole nation.

But he or she should not use his status to try to influence or convince the population what is the right or wrong thing to do in such matters.

I strongly believe that if the president speaks his mind on important matters, such as the EU, the people at least know his or her opinion and that he or she is not operating with any hidden agendas.

In my mind, this is really important if the president is to be able to take on the role of unification and operate as a peacemaker.

Hannes’ campaign website is jaforseti.is.


Traditionally, the role of the President of Iceland has been apolitical and symbolic. The president is to unify the nation and serve as cultural ambassador for Iceland.

The president is neither part of the legislative nor the executive, although he/she formally appoints governments and legislations require his/her approval, which is usually considered a formality.

However, the role of the president has been subject to different interpretations in the Constitution of Iceland and a clearer definition of the office is strived for in the draft for a new constitution Icelanders will vote on in a consultative referendum in October.

Click here for further news of the presidential election.


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