In the wake of news about Mrs. Dorrit Moussaieff’s flight to Iceland aboard a Baugur private jet (see Iceland Review, Daily News, June 16, “President’s wife hitches ride on Baugur private jet”), Morgublaðið recollected Friday when Iceland’s current president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, was being shuttled around in Russian oligarch Roman Abramovitch’s private Boeing 737 in 2003. Abramovitch picked up Ólafur Ragnar in Iceland and flew him to London to watch a match of Abramovitch’s football team Chelsea. Prior to that, Ólafur Ragnar had flown in the same plane from Chukotka in Russia to London. Morgunblaðið quotes its editorial from 2003 saying that “the Office of the President of Iceland must take great care” when evaluating such offers of free transportation. It adds since there are currently no rules about what gifts and favors the President and his family can receive from private parties, the Prime Minister’s office must surely act to put such rules into place.
In the last presidential election in 2004, an exceptionally large number of people stayed at home (37.1 per cent). Of those who voted, 21.2 per cent cast an empty ballot and 11.4 percent for other candidates than the incumbent, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. He received 67.5 per cent of the votes cast but, because of the large number of people that stayed home, only 42.5 per cent of the electorate voted for him.