I interviewed people in downtown Iceland last night about the June 30 presidential election. The president is essentially a figurehead in Iceland, but he or she does have one very important power: sending a law that Parliament passes to national referendum. This was important here.
This election, a seven-person race, is shaping up to be a battle of “two towers” — TV journalist Þora Arnórsdóttir vs. four-term incumbent president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Þora has run on the platform that she won’t infuse the office with politics, like Ólafur has. At an event I went to yesterday, she said she’d be the “nice president.”
Here’s what one Icelander, a 29-year-old Ph.D. student named Ásta (pictured), said:
“I want something else than the president we have now. I know that’s a bad argument, but all the five others, they have pretty similar strategies. They mostly say the same things. But there’s something about Þóra that makes me trust her. I like the way she emphasizes how she won’t have a political strategy. I like that because I think we’ve had enough of that.”