As Icelanders go to the polls on Saturday to decide on their next president, the sitting candidate faces a challenge from an unlikely contender – a 37-year-old mother of three, with a newborn baby. The baby is called Sky, which means “cloud”. It’s only a nick-name, a stop-gap sobriquet because her parents have many other things to think about before they decide what to call their new child. “It’s just until her mother has time to choose one,” says the baby’s father, Svavar Halldorsson. Admittedly it’s not unusual for babies to be nameless for up to six months in Iceland. What’s different in this case, is that Sky’s mother is too busy to decide on a name because she’s running for president.
While some mothers of a newborn would struggle to get out of the house first thing, Thora Arnorsdottir leaves her modest home in a suburb of Reykjavik at 08:30 to hit the campaign trail, four-week-old Sky in tow. It’s not Thora who is carrying the baby, but her partner of eight years, Svavar, with whom she has two other children, aged six and four. She is also stepmother to his three older children from a previous relationship. Ms Arnorsdottir and Mr Halldorsson aren’t married yet. She says they thought about tying the knot this summer, but she’s been rather busy, so that plan has fallen by the wayside.