Tight race as Iceland votes to elect new president | Elections News

The vote appears to be a tight contest between three women: former Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir; businesswoman Halla Tomasdottir; and Arctic scholar Halla Hrund Logadottir.

Voters in Iceland are casting their ballots to elect the country’s new president, a largely ceremonial position in the parliamentary republic.

Saturday’s vote appears to be a tight contest between three women: former Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir; businesswoman Halla Tomasdottir; and Arctic and energy scholar Halla Hrund Logadottir.

The president of Iceland acts as guarantor of the constitution and national unity, but has the power to veto legislation or put it to a referendum.

Polling stations opened at 9:00 a.m. (09:00 GMT) and will close at 10:00 p.m. Results are expected early Sunday.

The hugely popular Gudni Johannesson, who has held the position since 2016 and was re-elected in 2020 with a whopping 92 percent of the vote, announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election.

No central issue has dominated the election campaign, where candidates traditionally run as independents with no party affiliations.

In the country of 380,000 people, any citizen who collects 1,500 signatures can run for office.

Jakobsdottir, who led a left-right coalition government from 2017 until April, when she resigned to run for president, has had to defend herself against criticism that she is too political for the job.

“In fact, I think knowing the political environment doesn’t make you any less qualified to do the job of president,” the 48-year-old said Thursday during a televised debate, when asked if her political career would be an obstacle for her. as president.

“On the contrary… I believe I can overcome all partisan politics,” he said.

In the televised debate, the candidates traded barbs on topics ranging from the country’s membership in NATO, weapons for Ukraine, the possible sale of Iceland’s national electric company and the use of the presidential veto power.

Women at the head

Jakobsdottir, Tomasdottir and Logadottir lead the opinion polls.

Tomasdottir is a 55-year-old businesswoman who came second in the 2016 presidential election, while Logadottir is a 43-year-old environmental, energy and environmental expert who is currently an adjunct professor at Harvard University.

A poll published on Friday in the daily Morgunbladid puts Jakobsdottir in the lead with 26 percent, closely followed by Tomasdottir with 24 percent and Logadottir with 19 percent.

Jakobsdottir, leader of the Left-Green Movement party from 2013 until her presidential bid, has been praised for her handling of the resurgence of volcanic eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula since December.

The five eruptions, including one on Wednesday, have prompted a series of evacuations, as well as the state’s takeover of homes for residents evacuated from the threatened fishing village of Grindavik.

Leave a Comment