Iceland’s president might seek a fifth term

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

Iceland’s president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson might seek a fifth term in the 2012 presidential elections. In his nationally televised New Year’s address on January 1st, he said that he might be of greater assistance free of the restraints which the office of the Presidency imposes. “Without the duties of a head of state on my shoulders, I shall have more scope to devote energy to cherished goals and causes that have long been dear to me; I shall be able to make a contribution of a different kind towards progress and prosperity, science, research and economic activity,” Grímsson said. He did however, not state that he would be stepping down. It had been expected that he would announce in the address if he would run again.

Grímsson was first elected president in 1996 with 41.4% of the votes. According to a poll released by MMR last November, 53,7% said they intended to vote for Grímsson, should he run again. If elected for a fifth term, he would be the longest-serving president in the history of Iceland.

The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reported after the address that Grímsson would not be seeking re-election. In the following days, speculations about the president not stating directly that he would be stepping down begun. When asked by a reporter from the National Broadcasting Service on January 6th, Mr. Grímsson said “No one knows what the future will bring”.

Speculations about his successor have nevertheless started. Former Prime Minister Davíð Oddson, Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr and musicans Björk and Páll Óskar. and are among the people who have been named. The Presidential elections will be held on June 30th, 2012.

photos by Kris Krüg

Örlygur Hnefill

Örlygur Hnefill Örlygsson is the manager of Húsavík Hotels and co-founder of He has worked as a journalist at Fréttablaðið newspaper in Reykjavík and at the Parliament of Iceland, as an assistant to MP for North East Constituency.

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