2016 Icelandic presidential election

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Icelandic presidential election, 2016

← 2012 25 June 2016 2020 →
  Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (2017-03-30).jpg
Nominee Guðni Th. Jóhannesson Halla Tómasdóttir
Party Independent Independent
Popular vote 71,356 50,995
Percentage 39.1% 27.9%

  Andri Snaer Magnason.JPG
David Oddsson.jpg
Nominee Andri Snær Magnason Davíð Oddsson
Party Independent Independence
Popular vote 26,037 25,108
Percentage 14.3% 13.7%

President before election

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
Independent

Elected President

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson
Independent

Coat of arms of Iceland.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Iceland
Constitution

Presidential elections took place in Iceland on 25 June 2016.[1] President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, elected in 1996, stepped down after serving five consecutive terms. Historian and lecturer Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was elected after receiving a plurality with 39.1% of the vote.[2] He took office on 1 August, as the first new president of the Nordic country in twenty years.[3]

Electoral system[edit]

The President of Iceland is elected by plurality in a single round of voting.[4] Candidates must be Icelandic citizens and at least 35 years of age on election day.[5]

Campaign[edit]

On 1 January 2016, incumbent president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson announced that he would not seek a sixth term in the office, wanting "to transfer the responsibilities of the president onto other shoulders".[1][6][7] He later retracted and decided to run in April,[8] citing political unrest after the fallout of the Panama Papers leak, which implicated Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and forced him to resign after large anti-government protests.[9] In the following ten days five other candidates suspended their campaigns, one of them after endorsing Ólafur Ragnar. Former Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson declared his candidacy on 8 May, and Ólafur Ragnar withdrew from the race the following day, stating that there was now a supply of qualified candidates. A poll showing Ólafur Ragnar with only 25% support had been published the same day.[10]

Davíð Oddsson attacked Guðni Th. Jóhannesson in two TV-debates for allegedly having an unpatriotic view of the Cod Wars. Guðni, a historian of the Cod Wars, dismissed these charges and explained that his take on the Cod Wars was nuanced and supported by research. Davíð has also said that Guðni supported Icelandic responsibility for Icesave and is in favor of EU-membership. Guðni responded, saying that his words were taken out context in both instances, and that he as President would make sure that the public would have a say in a referendum both on the resumption of EU accession negotiations and approval of any accession treaty. Furthermore, Davíð has alleged that Guðni will "undermine the Constitution" by supporting constitutional change.[11] Halla is personally against EU, and Andri Snær is undecided.[citation needed]

End-of-campaign developments[edit]

Despite an initial anti-establishment feeling, interest in the campaign waned in the last days due to the performance of the Iceland national football team in the Euro 2016. Like his predecessor, Guðni is opposed to membership of the European Union. In the final debate the day before the vote, he said the result of the Brexit vote changes "much for the better for us Icelanders", implying that the European Economic Area agreement that non-EU members Norway and Iceland have with the EU could play a more important role with the United Kingdom on board. His campaign promises included vowing to "modernise political life" and give voters a chance of direct democracy initiatives.[3]

Candidates[edit]

Candidates had to formally declare their intention to run on or before 20 May[12] (five weeks prior to the election) and "be proposed by not less than 1500 voters".[5] The number of candidates in previous elections had been six at most, but the announced departure of the incumbent president prompted an unprecedented number of people to consider running. A total of 21 people publicly declared their intention to run, and around ten more were reported to be seriously considering it. Finally, nine candidates fulfilled the requirements for ballot access.[13]

Main candidates[edit]

Other candidates[edit]

Failed to get ballot access[edit]

Two candidates failed to collect enough signatures before the deadline expired.[27][28]

  • Baldur Ágústsson – businessman, who also ran in 2004.[29][30] Did not submit before the deadline.[28]
  • Magnús Ingberg Jónsson – fish processing engineer and entrepreneur.[31] Made an incomplete submission and was rejected by electoral authorities.[32]

Suspended campaign[edit]

  • Ari Jósepsson – entertainer and self-proclaimed "YouTube star". Declared in January and withdrew on 13 May due to lack of media coverage of minor candidates.[33][34]
  • Benedikt Kristján Mewes – German-born dairy engineer and mailman, who wants to be the first gay president.[35] Failed to collect enough signatures and withdrew on the last day to hand them in.[36]
  • Bæring Ólafsson – former COO of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines.[37][38] Declared in March and withdrew in late April.[39] Endorsed Andri Snær Magnason.[40]
  • Guðmundur Franklín Jónsson – businessman and former chairman of the Right-Greens.[41] Announced in March and left in April. Endorsed Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.[42]
  • Heimir Örn Hólmarsson – electrical engineer and project manager.[43] Announced in March and withdrew on 19 April due to the incumbent seeking reelection.[44]
  • Hrannar Pétursson – sociologist and former Human Resource- and Marketing Director for Icelandic Vodafone.[45] Withdrew in April.[46]
  • Magnus Ingi Magnússon – restaurateur and caterer.[47] Declared in April, withdrew on 17 May due to lack of signatures, saying he considered running for the Althingi instead.[48]
  • Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson – Incumbent President. In January, he declared that he would not seek reelection,[6] but decided to enter the race on 18 April after political unrest in connection with the Panama Papers leak.[8] He subsequently withdrew on 9 May stating as his reason that other qualified candidates had now entered the race.[49]
  • Vigfús Bjarni Albertsson – hospital chaplain.[50] Announced his candidacy in March but withdrew on 18 April.[51]
  • Þorgrímur Þráinsson – author, motivational speaker, and former football player; announced he intended to run in November 2015,[52][53][54] which he confirmed on 1 January.[24] In April however, he said he would not go forth and implied he had not made a declaration.[55]

Declined[edit]

Statement of intent[edit]

  • Snorri Ásmundsson – a conceptual artist, released a statement in which he claimed he intended to run for president of both Iceland and Mexico, joining the presidential offices of the two countries.[61][62]

Timeline[edit]

Opinion polls[edit]

Poll Date Olafur Ragnar Grímsson Guðni Th. Jóhannesson Andri Snær Magnason Halla Tómasdóttir Davið Oddsson Others
MMR 22–26 April 52.6 29.4 8.8 9.2
Fréttablaðið 2–3 May 45 38 11 3 3
MMR 6–9 May 25.3 59.2 8.8 1.7 3.1[†] 1.9
Fréttablaðið 10 May 3.2 69.0 10.7 1.0 13.7 2.4
Maskína 10–13 May 67.2 12.1 2.9 14.8 3.0
Félagsvísindastofnun HÍ 14 May 67.1 7.8 1.5 17.4 6.2
MMR 12–20 May 65.6 11.0 2.2 18.1 3.0
Gallup 19–25 May 57.2 10.9 5.4 22.0 4.6
Gallup 26 May – 3 June 56.7 10.6 7.5 20.3 5.3
Gallup 8–15 June 50.9 15.5 12.5 16.4 4.8
Félagsvísindastofnun HÍ 19–22 June 45.9 15.7 16.3 16.0 6.1
Gallup 20–24 June 44.6 16.0 18.6 16.0 4.8
based on 27% of the poll.

Results[edit]

Guðni won the election with 39.1% of the votes.[2] Halla received 27.9%, Andri Snær 14.3%, Davíð 13.7% and Sturla 3.5%.[2] The turnout was 75.7%.[2]

After voting on his birthday, Guðni said that he was satisfied he had "managed to present to the people my vision of the presidency." He said that should he win, he would first "go to France on Monday and see Iceland play England."[3]

V • T • E Summary of the 25 June 2016 Icelandic presidential election results
Candidate Party Votes %
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson independent 71,356 38.49
Halla Tómasdóttir independent 50,995 27.51
Andri Snær Magnason independent 26,037 14.04
Davíð Oddsson independent 25,108 13.54
Sturla Jónsson independent 6,446 3.48
Elísabet Jökulsdóttir independent 1,280 0.69
Ástþór Magnússon independent 615 0.33
Guðrún Margrét Pálsdóttir independent 477 0.26
Hildur Þórðardóttir independent 294 0.16
Valid votes 182,608 98.5
Invalid/Blank votes 2,782 1.5
Total 185,390 100.00
Electorate/Turnout 245,004 75.7%
Source: RÚV, MBL
Last election (2012) — Next election (2020)

References[edit]

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