Election for new Bishop of Iceland goes to second round run-off

It is important for the next Bishop of Iceland to be a woman, both for the church’s countenance and its equal rights policy. So says Agnes Sigurðardóttir, the priest in Bolungarvík, who is one of two who will go into the final round of voting. Her opponent is a man.

Agnes received the most votes in the election for Bishop, which were counted on Friday. There were eight candidates to lead the national church of Iceland and Agnes Sigurðardóttir, the priest of Bolungarvík in the Westfjords, received 28 percent of votes. Her nearest rival, Sigurður Árni Þórðarson, the priest of Neskirkja in Reykjavik, received 25 percent of votes.

As nobody got 50 percent or more of the votes, the election will go to a runn-off between the top two candidates: Agnes and Sigurður. The postal voting will begin in early April and a new Bishop is expected to be declared by 21st April.

Agnes told Vísir.is that she had no idea how well she would do before the voting actually began.

“I have experienced a lot of support – in fact I didn’t expect so much support, but I am obviously thankful for it,” Agnes said.

“I found it quite interesting that the difference was not more. It surprised me that there should be two clear leaders, and it came as a pleasant surprise to see such an even mix of men and women in the top four,” Sigurður Árni said.

“I intend to put the main priority on work connected to family; work concerning children and teenagers – because the church needs to do a lot to develop its family and household related work,” Sigurður Árni added.

Two of the top three in Friday’s results were candidates trying to become the first ever female Bishop of Iceland. Agnes believes it is important for a woman to be Bishop.

“It is of course important for the church’s equality policy,” she said; adding that its goals have not all been reached completely, but that the election of a female Bishop would be a huge step in the right direction.

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