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Low Voter Turnout Expected in Election

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Low Voter Turnout Expected in Election

Bessastaðir.

Bessastaðir, the presidential residence. Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

Voter turnout could be at a historic low in tomorrow’s presidential election in Iceland, according to Vísir. Numerous factors could affect voter participation, which has been declining in recent years. Grétar Þór Eyjólfsson, professor of political science at Akureyri University, states that The EURO2016 in France and lack of excitement regarding the elections may affect participation.

Grétar noted, “Icelanders have always had good voter participation, and it’s been among the highest we know in the Western world. Still, there are indications that voter participation is declining, and recent elections have shown a lower voter turnout than we’re used to. The local government elections of 2014 had a record low voter turnout, or just over 66 percent.”

Grétar predicts a turnout of under 65 percent. He pointed out that there has been little discussion about the presidential election. It’s been in the shadow of coverage of the Euro Cup in France. “There are very many people who are either thinking about going to France, or who are there already and haven’t yet voted,” Grétar explained. “There is also little excitement regarding the election, and one man has had a major lead since he declared his candidacy.”

Grétar thereby refers to Guðni Th. Jóhannesson whose following, according to recent polls, is about 50 percent. The Icelandic men’s national football team finished second in its group at the EURO2016 in France and advanced to the final 16 after surprisingly beating Austria on Wednesday. Their next game is in Nice on Monday, causing Icelanders to travel to France in droves this weekend.

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