Iceland's incumbent president reelected to second term

Iceland's President Guoni Johannesson gestures while speaking at a plenary session of the International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, April 9, 2019.
Iceland's President Guoni Johannesson gestures while speaking at a plenary session of the International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Copyright AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky
By Daniel Bellamy with AFP
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Although the post is mostly symbolic the president does have the power to veto legislation and appoint governments.

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Iceland's incumbent president Gundi Johannesson was reelected to a second term in office by a landslide, as the country heads to the polls on Saturday.

Johannesson, a 52-year-old academic, is a champion of LGBT rights and has been seen picking up litter near his residence on occasion.

He won the vote by 92% whereas his rightwing challenger won just 7% of the vote. There was a 66.9% turnout in the country.

That challenger, Gudmundur Franklin Jonsson, is a fan of US President Donald Trump and in 2010 founded a right-wing populist movement, which he led for three years.

Jonsson wanted the president to exercise more power by vetoing more legislation and described the vote as a choice between "an active president and an inactive president."

Although the post is mostly symbolic the president does have the power to veto legislation but that's only been done on three occasions.

"If I get the support of my compatriots, I will continue on the same path," Johannesson said at at polling station near the capital Reykjavík on Saturday.

Just ten people have died due to COVID-19 in Iceland, a country of 365,000 people, but the tourist sector was badly hit and the government has spent €1.8 billion supporting businesses.

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