The President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, announced to the nation in his New Year speech that he will not be running for re-election this year.
“Though the years have gone by fast, it is still a long time since I spoke to you first from this room,” the President said; continuing by saying he has always done his job to the best of his ability. The decisions he has had to make as President have sometimes been very difficult; but others have also brought him much joy, he said.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson told the nation he has been considering carefully whether or not he should go for re-election for a record fifth time and whether it would be in his and the nation’s best interest to do so. In the end, he says, he has come to the conclusion that he may be better able to serve the Icelandic nation as a free agent, without the burden of responsibility the job of President entails. He sees himself pursuing his existing scientific and environmental interests further; for example by becoming even more of an ambassador for green electricity.
“My decision is not a farewell, but rather the beginning of a new role I can take on, richer from the experience which the role of President imparts upon all who take it up,” the President said. He closed with a message of thanks to the Icelandic people for the trust they have shown him over the years.
69 year-old Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has been President of Iceland since 1996. He is the third of the country’s five presidents so far to have remained in office for 16 years. None have served more than four terms.