Iceland Independence Party leadership hopeful begins flesh pressing tour

Iceland’s biggest opposition party, the Independence Party, is gearing up for a leadership battle between incumbent Bjarni Benediktsson and Reykjavik city councillor and former mayor Hanna Birna Kristjansdottir.

Hanna Birna Kristjansdottir held a meeting with party members in the Westfjords town of Isafjordur this weekend — the first meeting in a tour around Iceland in which she plans to discuss her nomination for party leader with Independence Party supporters around the country.

Halldor Halldorsson, the former mayor of Isafjardarbaer (Isafjordur and neighbouring towns) organised the meeting. He told that his party compatriots were generally very satisfied with the meeting. “What stood out most to people at the meeting was how well Hanna Birna was informed about issues,” Halldorsson said — adding that people feel it is very positive for the party to have the choice between two excellent leadership nominees. Halldorsson himself publicly supports Kristjansdottir.

Kristjansdottir’s campaign for leader has been criticised in some quarters of the party for lack of direction. Independence Party politician Tryggvi Thor Herbertsson said on the radio yesterday morning that he is disappointed that her campaign involves no change of direction for the party, or new initiatives/emphases.