National handball team goalkeeper Björgvin Páll Gústavsson has decided not to run for the presidency of Iceland, despite a longstanding dream and public speculation about his candidacy. Björgvin cites a lack of experience and other personal dreams as reasons for not pursuing the office. Presidential elections are set for June 1.
A dream deferred
In his annual New Year’s address, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson announced that he would be stepping down from the presidency after two terms in office, having served eight years in total. Guðni had previously declared that he would only serve three terms at most. Since his decision, a handful of individuals have announced their candidacy (none of whom have been especially popular in the polls).
Among those individuals who have been linked to the candidacy is Björgvin Páll Gústavsson, the men’s national handball team goalkeeper and player for the Icelandic club Valur. In a Facebook post today, however, Björgvin Páll clarified that he would not be running for the office of the President.
“I have many dreams, one of them is to someday become the President of Iceland,” Björgvin Páll said on Facebook. “But not now. I do not consider myself experienced enough to be president. Besides, there are all sorts of other dreams getting in the way that I need to fulfil first. These dreams are related to sports, my children, and all the other children. One is allowed to dream, and as Vigdís Finnbogadóttir put it during her inauguration in 1980: ‘We are the stuff that dreams are spun from,’” Björgvin Páll remarked.
In his post, Björgvin notes that his dream of becoming president first ignited during an admission into the Children and Adolescent Psychiatric Department of the National Hospital (BUGL) when he was just eight years old. This dream was further reinforced when he was awarded the Order of the Falcon 15 years later. Following the publication of his children’s book, A Child Becomes President, in December 2022, a poll was conducted by the media outlet Vísir and the radio programme Reykjavík síðdegis, wherein 40% of respondents said that they could envision Björgvin as president.
Presidential elections will take place on June 1 of this year and the new president’s term will begin on August 1. Among those individuals who have already announced their candidacy are entrepreneur Ástþór Magnússon, attorney Arnar Þór Jónsson, and investor Sigríður Hrund Pétursdóttir.