Iceland's eurosceptic president re-elected

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was re-elected as president of Iceland on Saturday for the fifth term but he has been in office since 1996. He got more than half the votes or almost 53 percent. Grímsson was one of six candidates running for the presidency. His main opponent, Þóra Arnórsdóttir, got 33 percent.

One of the biggest issues debated in the election campaign was whether Iceland should join the European Union or not. Grímsson confirmed early in the campaign his previously known stance that he was absolutely opposed to EU membership while Arnórsdóttir refused to make her opinion on the matter public. She nevertheless said that joining the EU under the current circumstances was like renting a room in a burning building.

Political analysts in Iceland have generally agreed that Grímsson's opposition to EU membership did much to secure his victory while at the same time claims that Arnórsdóttir favoured joining the bloc did not help her campaign. It was e.g. pointed out that she had been active in the European Movement Iceland in the 90s.

Grímsson has said after the elections that he regards the results as a call for him to take a more active and outspoken role in the debate in Iceland about larger issues such as whether Iceland should join the EU or not.