Presidential Reception for New Icelanders

Forsetaembættið. New Icelanders welcomed at presidential residence Bessastaðir

President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and First Lady Eliza Reid hosted a reception yesterday for all those who had received Icelandic citizenship this year. The couple were both present at the event to welcome the group of new Icelanders and congratulate them on their newly-acquired rights and responsibilities as Icelandic citizens. It was the first time such a reception has been held by Iceland’s president.

In his speech to the group, Guðni emphasised the importance of healthy patriotism and defining Icelandic nationality with broad-mindedness, tolerance, diversity, freedom, solidarity, compassion, and empathy. The First Lady echoed his sentiments, while also addressing the challenges of learning the Icelandic language, which takes time.

The idea for the reception came from Eliza, who is an immigrant to Iceland herself. “When I became an Icelandic citizen in 2008 I was notified by a form letter in the mail,” the First Lady wrote on social media. “I thought it was a big deal, a moment to celebrate! But the letter didn’t necessarily indicate that Iceland thought it was a big deal that I was now among their ranks. So it has long been a dream of mine that we would be able to recognize and formally welcome new citizens in some way. It underscores to new Icelanders the importance and responsibility of citizenship, while reminding those of us ‘older’ Icelanders that we too have obligations to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute fully to society and help to make it a richer nation for all of us.”

Guðni is not running for re-election in Iceland’s ongoing presidential race. Eliza stated that while she will not have influence in the matter in future years, she hopes the welcoming tradition continues.

Halla Tómasdóttir Gains Steam

Halla Tómasdóttir, candidate for president of Iceland

Halla Hrund Logadóttir and Katrín Jakobsdóttir are neck and neck in the race for president of Iceland, according to the latest poll by Gallup. Halla Tómasdóttir, who had been polling below 5% jumps to 11%, RÚV reports.

Baldur in third place

The polling followed a televised debate on 3 May. Halla Hrund, the Director General of Iceland’s National Energy Authority drops in the poll from 36% down to 25% as Katrín, the former prime minister and chairperson of the Left-Green Movement, rises from 23% to 25%.

Baldur Þórhallsson, a professor of political science at the University of Iceland, is firmly in third place with 18%, while Halla Tómasdóttir, a businessperson and former candidate, eclipses Jón Gnarr, a comedian and former mayor of Reykjavík, who is polling at 10%. Other candidates are polling at lower numbers, but Arnar Þór Jónsson, a lawyer and former judge, has reached 6%.

Difference by age and gender

When the polling is broken down by age, gender, education and political views, it becomes clear that Halla Hrund is popular among men, while Baldur is popular among women. Older people are more likely to support Katrín or Halla Hrund, while younger people favour Baldur and Jón.

The election will take place in one round on 1 June.

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Halla Hrund Leads Polls in Presidential Race

Halla Hrund Logadóttir is enjoying a significant lead in Iceland’s ongoing presidential race, with nearly 30% support among voters. Former Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir is in second place with just over 21% and Baldur Þórhallsson in third with just over 20%, though the difference is not considered statistically significant. Former Reykjavík Mayor Jón Gnarr takes fourth place with just under 15%.

Katrín’s support growing

The data is from the most recent weekly poll conducted by Prósent for Morgunblaðið. Halla Hrund showed similar support as in the previous week, whereas Katrín Jakobsdóttir showed increased support after dropping in the polls last week. In an unprecedented move, Katrín resigned as Prime Minister last month in order to run for the post.

Record number of candidates

Morgunblaðið notes that most of the responses were submitted before the televised debate that took place last Friday evening, which may impact current support. Respondents were also asked who they believed was most likely to win the election. Respondents considered Halla Hrund and Katrín to be the most likely winners, with neither favoured over the other in the data.

Iceland’s presidential election will take place on June 1. There are 11 official candidates running, a historic record. Current president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson is not running for reelection.

Record Number of Presidential Candidates in Iceland

Bessastaðir, official residence of the President of Iceland.

There are 11 official candidates in Iceland’s Presidential election this June 1. The National Electoral Commission has reviewed the documents of all 13 candidates who submitted their endorsements last Friday, ruling two applications as invalid, RÚV reports. The number of official candidates is a record for the country, and includes Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who resigned as Prime Minister in order to run.

Submitted only nine endorsements

Candidates hoping to run in a presidential election in Iceland must collect and submit a minimum of 1,500 endorsements (signatures of support) from all four quadrants of the country. One of the two candidates whose application was deemed invalid had submitted only nine signatures of endorsement. The other was several hundred endorsements short of the minimum.

Read More: How do I become President of Iceland?

Between Iceland’s first presidential election in 1952 until the 2004 election, there were never more than four candidates running for the position, and on two occasions there were just two candidates. Since 2004, the number of candidates in presidential elections has grown. In 2012 there were six official candidates and in 2016 there were nine. In Iceland’s last presidential election, in 2020, there were only two.

The presidential candidates are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Arnar Þór Jónsson
  • Ásdís Rán Gunnarsdóttir
  • Ástþór Magnússon Wium
  • Baldur Þórhallsson
  • Eiríkur Ingi Jóhannsson
  • Halla Hrund Logadóttir
  • Halla Tómasdóttir
  • Helga Þórisdóttir
  • Jón Gnarr
  • Katrín Jakobsdóttir
  • Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir

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New Presidential Challenger, Poll Suggests

Halla Hrund Logadóttir, director general of Iceland’s National Energy Authority and adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard university, would receive 26.2% of the vote in the presidential election, according to a new poll by Maskína.

However, the difference between her and two other candidates polling at the top is not statistically significant, RÚV reports.

Four candidates in double digits

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, former prime minister and leader of the Left-Green Movement, is polling at 25.4% and Baldur Þórhallsson, professor of political science, comes in with 21.2% support. Katrín and Baldur have been leading the polls in recent weeks.

Four candidates are polling in double digits, with comedian and former mayor Jón Gnarr polling at 15.2%. Other candidates are polling at under 5%.

Election in just over a month

The presidential election will take place in one round on June 1. Current president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson announced in an address on January 1 that he would not seek re-election after serving two terms. The office of president is mostly ceremonial, but does come with limited political powers.

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Iceland News Review: The Puffins Return, Trip Into a Volcano, and More

In this episode of Iceland News Review, we delve into Iceland’s new government; the return of Iceland’s iconic puffins; a new attraction that could show you the inside of an active volcano, and much more.

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

Katrín Leads in Presidential Poll

Katrín Jakobsdóttir Bjarni Benediktsson Sigurður Ingi Ráðherra

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who resigned as prime minister and leader of the Left-Green Movement this weekend to run for president of Iceland, leads the race according to a new survey by pollster Maskína.

32.9% said they would vote for Katrín in the presidential election scheduled for June 1, Mbl.is reports. Katrín announced her campaign last week after months of speculation, throwing the future of the coalition government she headed into question. Discussions are ongoing within her party and coalition partners the Independence Party and the Progressive Party about the shape of a new cabinet to serve until next year’s parliamentary elections. Katrín remains as prime minister until a new coalition is formed.

Baldur close on Katrín’s heels

26.7% said they would vote for Baldur Þórhallsson, professor of political science. Jón Gnarr, comedian and former mayor of Reykjavík, had 19.6% support in the poll. 7.9% said they would vote for Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO of B Team. Halla Hrund Logadóttir, director general of the National Energy Authority, had 5.7% support, while other candidates polled below 5%.

The current president, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, announced on January 1 that he would not be seeking reelection after two terms in office. The role of president is a largely ceremonial one, although it comes with limited political powers.

Iceland President Cancels Ukraine Trip

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson cancelled a visit to Ukraine over safety concerns. The trip was scheduled for Easter Sunday, Mbl.is reports.

Security concerns

Among the events scheduled for President Guðni’s visit were a meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, followed by a ceremony for the two year anniversary of the Bucha massacre when Russian troops invaded the city. The president was to attend a conference following the ceremony.

Due to security concerns, the Ukrainian government cancelled the event. In the last few days, Russian troops have increased the number of missile and drone strikes, affecting energy infrastructure.

Presidential election coming up

President Guðni is enjoying his last few months in office, with a presidential election set for June 1. In his New Year’s Day address on January 1, he announced that he would not run again after two terms in office, totalling eight years.

Among the candidates are Baldur Þórhallsson, professor of political science, and Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO of B Team, while comedian Jón Gnarr is expected to announce today whether or not he will run. Among other rumoured candidates is Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

Baldur Runs for President

Baldur Þórhallsson, professor of political science

Baldur Þórhallsson, professor of political science at the University of Iceland, announced his candidacy for president of Iceland today, Vísir reports.

In a meeting at Bæjarbíó theatre in Hafnarfjörður, Baldur was introduced by his husband, actor and media personality Felix Bergsson. “We can’t sit by anymore and ignore your words of encouragement,” said Baldur in his speech. “We’re going to answer the call loud and clear and go for it.”

Many candidates in the running

Baldur’s candidacy has been rumoured for weeks. A Facebook group to encourage Baldur and Felix to run was founded at the beginning of March by Gunnar Helgason, an actor and creative partner of Felix. The group already has over 18 thousand members.

Earlier this week, Halla Tómasdóttir, a business person, CEO of B Team and a previous candidate for the office, announced her candidacy. Candidates who have already announced include Agnieszka Sokolowska, Arnar Þór Jónsson, Axel Pétur Axelsson, Ástþór Magnússon, Húni Húnfjörð, Sigríður Hrund Pétursdóttir and Tómas Logi Hallgrímsson.

Election set for June

On New Year’s Day, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson announced his decision not to run again in the election, set for June 1. He was elected in 2016 with 39% of the vote. Halla also ran in 2016, coming in second with 28% of the vote.

The president is head of state in Iceland and the role is mostly ceremonial, although it comes with limited political powers according to the constitution. A number of people have signed up online to collect the 1,500 necessary signatures of supporters to be allowed to run for the office, despite not having publicly announced their candidacy, with the deadline set at April 26.

 

Presidential Race Heats Up

Halla Tómasdóttir, candidate for president of Iceland

A new contender has entered the race for president of Iceland. Halla Tómasdóttir, a business person, CEO of B Team and a previous candidate for the office, announced her candidacy at a press conference yesterday, Heimildin reports.

On New Year’s Day, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson announced his decision not to run again in the election, set for June 1. He was elected in 2016 with 39% of the vote. Halla also ran in 2016, coming in second with 28% of the vote.

Ready to make a difference

“If you want a president who is ready to go to work and believes that by harnessing our creativity in the fields of culture, arts, and business we can accomplish anything, then I’m ready to commit myself to make a difference,” Halla said at the well attended press conference in Reykjavík. “If you want a president who wants to build bridges, has empathy and joy, and believes that equality is the key to an even stronger society, then I am sincerely ready, along with my husband, to serve the interests of Icelanders with all my heart.”

Multiple candidates in the running

The president is head of state in Iceland and the role is mostly ceremonial, although it comes with limited political powers according to the constitution. A number of people have signed up online to collect the 1,500 necessary signatures of supporters to be allowed to run for the office, with the deadline set at April 26, but only a handful of candidates have formally announced that they’re running.  They include Agnieszka Sokolowska, Arnar Þór Jónsson, Axel Pétur Axelsson, Ástþór Magnússon, Húni Húnfjörð, Sigríður Hrund Pétursdóttir and Tómas Logi Hallgrímsson.

A recent poll conducted by a publicist showed 35% approval for Halla’s candidacy. Baldur Þórhallsson, a professor of political science who is considering a run, had 53% approval in the same poll. Many other names have been rumoured as possible candidates.