78% Disapprove of New Prime Minister

Bjarni Benediktsson, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, and Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson

Nearly four of every five people surveyed said they disapproved of Bjarni Benediktsson, leader of the Independence Party, ascending to the office of the prime minister. According to a new poll by Prósent, only 13% said they approved of Bjarni, Heimildin reports.

Coalition reshuffling

Bjarni became prime minister a week ago following a cabinet reshuffling. Katrín Jakobsdóttir had resigned as prime minister and leader of the Left-Green Movement a week earlier to campaign for the office of president. Bjarni was prime minister briefly in 2017, but had otherwise been finance minister from 2013 to 2023. The Progressive Party rounds out the three-party coalition with elections set for next year when the term ends.

Online petition

78% of those surveyed by Prósent said they disapproved of Bjarni, with young people more likely to disapprove than older people. Women were also more likely to disapprove than men. In addition, 73% of those surveyed said they disapproved of the coalition government reshuffling. 14% said they approved.

An online petition was started after Bjarni’s return as prime minister, which has now been signed by 41,240 people expressing their disapproval of him. The number of signatures amounts to approximately 15% of all voters in Iceland.

Two Thirds of Reykjavík Residents Support Pedestrian Zones

Reykjavík walking district laugavegur

The majority of Reykjavík residents view pedestrian districts in downtown positively, according to a recent poll commissioned by the City of Reykjavík from Maskína, a market research group.

The recent opinion poll also reports a significant reduction in negative opinions towards pedestrian districts in the last four years. In total, 64.5% of Reykjavík residents view pedestrian districts positively, with 12.3% viewing them negatively.

Interestingly, those disposed most positively towards pedestrian districts are generally those who live near and visit pedestrian districts, such as Laugavegur, often. Conversely, negative attitudes towards walking zones were also shown to cluster around those who live away from and visit walking zones less. 88% who visit walking districts weekly or more feel positively towards them. 64% of those who visit one to three times a month felt positively towards them, and only 38% of those who visited walking districts less than once a month felt positively towards them. The neighborhoods most positively disposed towards pedestrian areas were Vesturbær (80%) and downtown (78%).

Among key benefits of walking districts residents of Reykjavík highlighted in the poll were positive effects on health, community, restaurants and cafés, and shopping.

The poll also comes at a time when Reykjavík City is planning to expand the walking district by Austurvöllur around Dómkirkjan and Alþingi. The plans for the new walking area, which can be accessed here, will convert Kirkjustræti and Temparasund into pedestrian-only areas. The area will also receive an extensive redesign.

The Maskína survey took place between August 12 and 17 of this year, with a random sample of citizens and residents selected from Registers Iceland. Respondents were 18 years and older, and represent all districts of Reykjavík.