Victories and Woes in Weekend’s Primaries

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Victories and Woes in Weekend’s Primaries

Former Mayor of Reykjavík Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir will top the Independence Party ballots in Reykjavík in the general election in spring 2013 and the ministers Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Ögmundur Jónasson will lead the Left-Green Movement in the Reykjavík and Southwest constituencies.

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Hanna Birna Kristjánsdottir.

However, the results of last weekend’s primaries were disappointing for Left-Green MP Björn Valur Gíslason. In 2009 he ran for the Northeast constituency but now he decided to run in the capital, aiming for the first or second seat. He ended up in the seventh, Fréttablaðið reports.

There were 19 candidates in the Independence Party’s primaries. Hanna Birna was elected by a vast majority, 72 percent. MP Illugi Gunnarsson came second.

“It’s a clear message on what kind of leadership Independence Party members prefer. However, whether it will lead to a change in chairmanship is unclear, it is disputed whether it is a wise move to switch chairs shortly before the election,” reasoned professor in political science Grétar Þór Eyþórsson.

Grétar added that Hanna Birna is the obvious choice for vice-chair if she chooses to run for it and for a ministerial position if the Independence Party wins the election. MP Pétur Blöndal placed third and newcomer, Supreme Court lawyer Brynjar Níelsson fourth.

Among the Left-Greens in Reykjavík, Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir came second, followed by MPs Árni Þór Sigurðsson and Álfheiður Ingadóttir.

Grétar stated that although Björn was rejected in the primary, his candidacy was noteworthy in many aspects. “He had very little time to lobby for support for his candidacy and only lacked 18 votes for achieving the third seat.”

In the Southwest Constituency, Ólafur Þór Gunnarsson, who is on the town council of Kópavogur placed second and almost deprived Ögmundur of the first seat.

However, Ólafur will probably be moved to the third seat due to the party’s regulations on gender quotas and Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir, media representative in the Ministry of Finance, who placed third, will take the second seat.

Turnout was poor in last weekend’s primaries, as in other primaries this autumn. “Interest in politics in society, especially in the four ruling parties, appears to be decreasing,” explained Grétar.

Click here to read more about the primaries.

ESA