Iceland’s serving President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson looks set for a record fifth term in office, partial results from the country’s election suggest. With 20% of the votes counted, Mr Grimsson secured more than 50% support. Main challenger Thora Arnorsdottir, a journalist who gave birth during the campaign, acknowledged defeat.
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.
The workers at the Marel factory are filling up their lunch trays with salads, sausages and pickled fish when the presidential candidate arrives, spouse and new baby in tow. The canteen has seen several such visits from some of the six hopefuls in the running for Iceland’s election on Sunday. Today’s guest is the frontrunner to unseat President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, 69, who has been in office for a record 16 years. Aged 37, and with a successful career as a broadcast journalist, Thora Arnorsdottir entered the race in March. She was then seven months pregnant. But she has led the polls ever since, even after taking weeks out of campaigning to give birth to her third child with partner Svavar Halldorsson, who now carries the baby at the back of the Marel canteen.