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President of Iceland Still Gets Most Support in Polls

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President of Iceland Still Gets Most Support in Polls

Current President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who is seeking reelection, is supported by 45.8 percent of respondents in the latest survey by Capacent Gallup. Þóra Arnórsdóttir follows with 39.3 percent and Ari Trausti Guðmundsson ranks third with 9.2 percent.

icesave-olafurragnar-jan2010_ps

Ólafur Ragnar announcing his decision to veto the Icesave legislation in January 2010. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The other three candidates, Herdís Þorgeirsdóttir, Andrea J. Ólafsdóttir and Hannes Bjarnason, are favored by 2.6 percent, 2.1 percent and 1.1 percent of respondents, respectively, ruv.is reports.

The six presidential candidates met during a live debate hosted by national broadcaster RÚV yesterday.

Those whose ratings were low in the survey said they were determined to continue the fight, pointing out that their campaigns have only just begun, that support rankings can fluctuate and that a number of voters remain undecided.

The candidates disagreed on how to interpret the 26th article of the Icelandic Constitution, which Ólafur Ragnar used on two occasions to veto Icesave legislations and send them to national referendums.

He and Andrea agreed that the article should be considered the public’s but not the president’s right to veto legislations and call for national referendums.

Herdís didn’t want to focus on the president’s veto right but rather discuss how to protect democracy, whereas Þóra, Ari Trausti and Hannes referred to the 26th article as an “emergency brake”, only to be used under exceptional circumstances.

Ólafur Ragnar stated that his decisions regarding Icesave had united the nation and that they had been in line with the president’s role of unification, bringing power to the people and rekindling the public’s faith in democracy.

Ari Trausti disagreed, commenting that especially the second Icesave referendum had split the nation instead of uniting it as 40 percent of the electorate had wanted to pass the legislation but 60 percent reject it.

He stressed the importance of the president not interfering in political arguments, pointing out Ólafur Ragnar’s open opposition towards Iceland’s European Union membership.

Ólafur Ragnar in turn reasoned that the EU is such an important issue that it cannot be ignored by the president.

Ari Trausti agreed, but stated that the president should serve as a moderator and introduce the pros and cons of such issues rather than taking sides.

The survey was conducted online in the first week of June among 1,500 voters who were selected at random from Capacent Gallup’s survey group.

The response rate was 61 percent, 13 percent were undecided, four percent said they would either not go to the polls or hand in empty ballots, while one percent wanted to vote for someone besides the six candidates.

The presidential election will take place on June 30.

Click here to read other related stories.

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