Former PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson won a convincing victory in the Progressive Party’s primary in the northeast constituency on Saturday in the battle for the top seat of candidates, RÚV reports. He received 170 votes, or 72 percent, while Höskuldur Þórhallsson, who has been critical of Sigmundur Davíð, only received 24 votes, or 10.2 percent. When the results were in Höskuldur announced he did not wish to be on the party’s list.
Two women ran for the top spot. Þórunn Egilsdóttir placed second in the primary. She received 39 votes, or 16.6 percent. Thus, she will take the second seat on the party’s list of candidates. Líneik Anna Sævarsdóttir only received two votes. There were 238 people who voted, but 374 were registered to vote.
Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson described the results as confirming that Sigmundur Davíð is the undisputed leader of the party. Gunnar Bragi told reporters that his hope is PM Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson will reconsider his decision not to run for vice chairman. The Progressive Party Convention is scheduled for October, where Sigmundur Davíð will run for reelection as the party’s chairman. A strong showing in the primary was considered necessary to increase his chance of reelection, while a poor showing was believed to ruin his chances of reelection as party leader.
Gunnar Bragi stated, “the person who runs against Sigmundur Davíð has little hope of doing well, because this result strengthens his [Sigmundur’s] position at the convention. I actually think it’s only a question of how large the victory will be, how many votes he gets.”
One person has already declared he is running against Sigmundur Davíð: Sveinbjörn Eyjólfsson announced his candidacy at the party´s central meeting about a week ago. He added that he would withdraw his candidacy should PM Sigurður Ingi run against Sigmundur Davíð for the chairmanship. Four Progressive Party chapters have already publicly encouraged Sigurður Ingi to do so.
Since Sigurður Ingi declared at the central committee meeting that he would to seek reelection as vice chairman of the party under the current leadership, the media have focused on the troubled relationship between him and Sigmundur Davíð. The latter stated in an interview with RÚV he had no recollection of Sigurður Ingi’s mentioning a loss of trust between them.