Iceland’s President Gudni Johannesson gained a landslide election on Sunday, in accordance with partial outcomes, after the European nation grew to become the second to carry polls since coronavirus lockdowns have been lifted.
Since struggling spectacular financial institution failures in 2008, the volcanic North Atlantic island of 365,000 inhabitants has recovered some financial and political stability, which has labored within the 52-year-old president’s favour.
Early outcomes late Saturday recommended Johannesson had secured a second four-year mandate with 90 p.c of the votes, seeing off a problem from rightwinger Gudmundur Franklin Jonsson.
“I am honoured and proud,” the president advised AFP from his election evening headquarters at Reykjavik’s Grand Hotel. “This result of this election is, to me, proof of the fact that my fellow Icelanders… have approved of how I have approached this office.”
Opinion polls had predicted Jonsson had little likelihood of profitable the help of the nation, which has 252,217 eligible voters.
“I send my congratulations to Gudni and his family,” Jonsson, a former Wall Street dealer near Icelandic nationalists, advised public broadcaster RUV.
Largely symbolic function
In this parliamentary republic, the president is basically symbolic, however she or he does have the facility to veto laws or submit it to a referendum.
Several voters advised AFP that “character” is a key criterion in selecting a candidate.
“I try to read the character of the person,” mentioned Sigurbjörg Hansen, 57. “If the person is honest, that’s number one for me.”
Voter surveys have since early June predicted a landslide victory for Johannesson, an impartial and former historical past professor.
The coronavirus pandemic was not anticipated to have an effect on voting, as the nation has been solely mildly contaminated. It has reported 10 deaths, and at present has round 11 energetic instances.
‘Not pompous, not very formal’
Johannesson, who in 2016 grew to become the nation’s youngest president since independence in 1944, has loved strong help all through most of his first time period, starting from 76 to 86 p.c in accordance with the MMR polling institute.
“He has been seen as a man of the people, not pompous, not very formal. So Icelanders seem to like him and want to keep him as president,” mentioned Olafur Hardarson, a political science professor on the University of Iceland.
Jonsson has struggled in the meantime to make inroads with voters.
The 56-year-old challenger has run a resort in Denmark since 2013 and is a fan of US President Donald Trump.
Jonsson entered politics in 2010 when he based the rightwing populist motion Haegri graenir.
He desires the president to play a extra energetic function by exercising his proper to veto laws.
That energy has solely been used 3 times, by Olafur Grimsson who served from 1996 to 2016.
Grimsson additionally organised two referendums on compensating foreigners who misplaced cash when an Icelandic financial institution went underneath in 2008.
According to specialists nonetheless, Iceland’s structure is ambiguous specifically concerning the president’s function in calling snap elections and dissolving parliament.
Gudlaugur Jörundsson, 60, mentioned he had voted for Jonsson.
“He won me over because I know he is a candidate for the people of this country and not just for one group of people.”
But 47-year-old Ragnhildur Gunnlaugsdottir seemed to be talking for a lot of when she credited Johannesson for talking from the center.
“He has been good for the past four years and I think he is going to be good” once more, she concluded.