First candidate revealed for Iceland presidential election

The first candidate for this June’s presidential election has put himself forward, and it is not the incumbent.

Ástþór Magnússon held a press conference at his home yesterday afternoon where he formally announced that he will stand for election as president. This is the third time he has stood in a presidential election.

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has promised to tell the nation whether or not he will stand for a record fifth term either late this week or early next week.

Ástþór’s statement is as follows:

I am told that there is a lot of talk about the presidential election at the nation’s kitchen tables, and about whether I will stand. Many people have been in touch with me following the sitting president’s ruminations on standing for election to Bessastaðir on Monday and encouraged me to put my name forward. I have decided to heed their wishes.

The nomination is also a challenge to the media, the current president and his supporters to respect the nation’s right to choose a president in an open and democratic process. Kristján Eldjárn, former president, said one time: “Personally I believe that 12 years is a reasonable and preferable time in this office and that it is an ample chunk of one’s working life. No one benefits from arriving at a point when they come to imagine themselves as indispensable.” Based on overseas precedents it was the recommendation of the constitutional council that the new constitution should limit the maximum time an individual can spend in the office of president to three terms.

The media are one of the most important instruments of modern democracy. The media steer the conversation and therefore bear great responsibility for the outcome of elections. Modern media do not group candidates by their fame or their family ties, but rather they provide voters with quick access to candidates so they can research them and their policies in an open, impartial and democratic manner in time for the election.

Though the current president has somewhat redeemed himself after having been a mouthpiece for the Outvasion Vikings for a decade, the nation still has full opportunity to choose itself a new, competent and tenacious president. I put myself forward now for the third time to energise Bessastaðir, stimulate democracy and support peace in the world.