President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson’s inaugural term will soon come to an end but given current social distancing requirements, he won’t be able to hit the campaign trail to gather support for his re-election bid, Kjarninn reports. Rather, the popular politician, who has enjoyed a 77-85% approval rating for the majority of his term, is turning to social media to collect the recommendations required in order for him to qualify for re-election. He is currently running unopposed.
In Iceland, presidential bids must be submitted to the Ministry of Justice no fewer than five weeks before election day, which this year is June 27. In order to be able to run for president, a candidate must receive recommendations from a minimum of 1,500 voters and a maximum of 3,000. The recommendations must come from all four quadrants of the country. The president is elected by direct popular vote and serves four-year terms in Iceland, with no term limit. If no other individuals announce their candidacy for president, Guðni will be reappointed without an election.
“Dear Friends!” Guðni wrote in a post on Facebook on Friday. “I hope you are well. Eliza and I won’t be forgetting the spring days of 2016 any time soon. It was remarkable to feel the support and solidarity of those thousands of people who supported my presidential bid in so many ways. That warmth will always mean a great deal to us.”
“During the election campaign, we all resolved to show integrity and diplomacy, to be optimistic and industrious,” his post continues. “This hasn’t changed.” This time, however, Guðni noted, “the collection [of recommendations] must go forth in a different way than it did the last time. Unfortunately, we won’t have the same opportunity to go out now and meet people as far and wide and as often as possible. Instead, we must rely on social media and electronic signatures.”
While noting that the danger posed by COVID-19 has not yet passed, he urged optimism. “There’s great strength in this nation,” Guðni wrote. “Together, we’ve set our sights on overcoming this epidemic. And together, we’ve set our sights on creating an even better society than before. With this in mind, I decided to run for re-election. With this in mind, I want to serve this country and its people.”
“We’ve had to endure difficult and distressing days,” Guðni continued. “Most or even all of us know people who have suffered because of the virus, people who have lost a loved one, fallen ill, or lost their job. The epidemic has made its mark on our society and the entire world. Here at home, we are deeply indebted to the health care workers, civilian and virus protection leaders, and the countless others who have dedicated themselves to protecting people’s lives and health.”
Guðni ended his post with a link to the website where supporters can add their names to the list of recommenders for his reelection. “If you have any questions,” he added, “please contact me by sending a message on this page.”