Iceland’s incumbent president secures new term with decisive win

Johannesson won 92.2 percent of the vote.

By Deutsche Presse-Agentur - June 29, 2020
Iceland’s President Guðni Johannesson delivers a speech during a session of the International Arctic Forum in Saint Petersburg, Russia on April 9, 2019. (Anton Vaganov / Reuters File Photo)

REYKJAVIK — Iceland’s incumbent president, Guðni Johannesson, has secured a new four-year term in office following a decisive win in Saturday’s presidential vote.

Johannesson won 92.2 percent of the vote, while his single challenger, Gudmundur Franklin Jonsson, had just under 8 percent, tallies showed on Sunday.

The results were in line with opinion polls that had suggested Johannesson would be re-elected with a comfortable margin.

Turnout was almost 67 percent. About 252,000 voters were eligible to vote.

In an interview with public broadcaster RUV after it was clear he had won, Johannesson discussed leadership styles.

He said that although he was not a supporter of English Premier League football club Liverpool, he wanted to be a leader like the club’s German manager, Juergen Klopp.

Klopp had shown great leadership when he guided Liverpool to become champions again in England, he said.

“He showed responsibility but also humbleness. He was competitive but also polite. Firm but also humble. That’s the way good leaders are and that is the sort of president I want to be for the next four years,” Johannesson said.

Johannesson, 52, has a background as a historian specializing in the presidency of Iceland, and he ran as an independent in 2016.

He declared his intention to run again in his New Year’s speech, and during his first term has sought to act as a unifying figure.

While largely playing a ceremonial role, the president does influence the formation of government in the North Atlantic nation of about 360,000 people.

The president can also veto legislation that can be placed under a referendum.

Reporting by Freyr Gigja Gunnarsson in Reykjavik and Lennart Simonsson in Lahti, Finland.