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The new mayor opens a diary and other fun stuff

So, as most people reading this will know, we have a new mayor here in Iceland in the form of comedian Jón Gnarr, of the Best Party.

The Best Party essentially stormed out of nowhere last spring and stole the Reykjavík local elections from the [corruption-ridden] Independence Party [who despite their corruption-riddedness still have loads of support].

This brilliant picture has been making the rounds in [Icelandic] cyberspace over the past few days. As far as I can ascertain it was snapped by one Birgir Ísleifur Gunnarsson who is in the band Motion Boys*, and it shows incoming mayor Jón Gnarr and outgoing mayor Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir [of the Independence Party].

I do believe it’s a tie between this photo and this one, for best news photo of the year.

Meanwhile, in keeping with their “fresh winds blowing” strategy, the Best Party has decided to employ different working practices from before, focusing on a collaboration between all parties, as opposed to US vs THEM. To that end they offered Hanna Birna the post President of the City Council, which is a pretty decent post, all in all, and which has traditionally not gone to an opposition party [which obviously with these new working practices, ceases, in effect, to be “opposition”]. Old Davíð Oddsson, unofficial King of the Independence Party, had a conniption up at Morgunblaðið headquarters, and wrote anonymous columns [which everybody knows are his] practically forbidding Hanna Birna to accept the position. Tough call for old Hanna Birna, who had placed great emphasis on this “working together” business during the election campaign, after it became clear that the Best Party was ahead of them in the race. In the end she went for it, though, which to my mind shows either HB’s strength of character or DO’s declining power within the party. Or maybe both.

Anyway, the new mayor also now has a “diary” on Facebook, in which he writes regular status updates and throws out ideas to his loyal followers. Latest status: “What do you say about a special ‘berry garden’ in Öskjuhlíð: blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, red currants?” — So far this has 932 “likes” and 186 comments — and counting.

* I nicked it from Dr. Gunni.

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  • Lissa June 20, 2010, 2:35 pm

    Well, a berry garden has the advantage of producing quick results, for politics. Who could possibly be against berries?

  • Virgile June 20, 2010, 2:59 pm

    Jón Gnarr certainly know how to be demagogical and to please the crowd 🙂

    The picture is priceless but i don’t think it beats the Johanna “i wish i had a gun” look.

    Cheers

  • Kris June 20, 2010, 5:40 pm

    IMO You no more want this guy to be your mayor than you want him to be your doctor. Too late to take away the matches…but I guess the same thing can be said of the rest of them.

  • Michael Lewis June 20, 2010, 6:09 pm

    I love that photo.I think I can see why Hanna got voted in – pretty enough to get the male vote, but not too gorgeous to alienate the female voters … and I thinks its fantastic that this guy has beaten her. Career politicians need to work in industry before they offer themselves up for election.

  • Stephen Cowdery June 20, 2010, 7:29 pm

    The berry garden is a great idea! Öskjuhlíð is a great place for a walk already; this kind of “development” could make it even better. Methinks there is method in Jón’s madness.

  • sylvia hikins June 20, 2010, 9:26 pm

    I agree with Virgile- Johanna’s picture says it all.
    I’m looking forward to reading Jon’s Facebook diary but the garden sounds berry dubious to me. Do you not have more pressing priorities?
    Have you all been asked to put together a list?
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • sylvia hikins June 20, 2010, 9:29 pm

    Should have added- what happened to the ideas that came out of the Saturday in Reykjavik earlier this year (or maybe it was late last year) when all the citizens met in the open forums and discussed how they wanted a future Iceland to be- truth and transparancy seemed to figure big?
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Gwrhyr June 20, 2010, 11:15 pm

    Both pictures are great and it’s hilarious how similar they are…

  • Chris June 20, 2010, 11:21 pm

    I would like to see, if its both: HB is getting stronger and DO getting weaker.

  • alda June 21, 2010, 12:45 am

    @ Michael Lewis — so according to your assessment it couldn’t have anything to do with her brains.

  • Max June 21, 2010, 1:04 am

    I have to agree with Alda, Michael, that’s a pretty dumb train of thought you’re on there.

    Fantastic photograph by the way, and the Facebook page is a great idea. I think Jón Gnarr will do a great job of involving his citizens in politics. Things like the berry garden just make him seem more approachable.

  • Mark June 21, 2010, 1:32 am

    @Michael Lewis – That’s just misogyny Michael. It’s not “fantastic that this guy has beaten her” it’s just the way Reykjavik is struggling to deal with the situation it is in.

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland June 21, 2010, 6:42 am

    Icelandic version of Ian Paisley sat next to Martin McGuinness
    ha ha ha.What a pretty pair maybe they can have an affair.

  • Michael Lewis June 21, 2010, 10:58 am

    No, the comment was more on the nature of voters than her … too pretty and she’d alienate female voters, regardless of her brains.
    Perhaps I’m reading accross too much from what I see in Elections here in the UK. Perhaps Icelands are far more earnest in their electoral deliberations … though they did vote for a clown 😉

  • sylvia hikins June 21, 2010, 4:42 pm

    Michael – a piece of advice- just retreat gracefully! Females don’t mind ‘pretty’ females- anyway, who is it decides on levels of ‘prettiness? Isn’t beauty always in the eye of the beholder?
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Gwrhyr June 21, 2010, 8:38 pm

    Michael, your comment was more on the nature of yourself than anything else.

  • JimJones June 22, 2010, 4:10 pm

    First of all, I wish my Icelandic was 600% better so I could read the diary.

    With that said, I like Jón Gnarr and think he’ll do at least pretty ok and here’s why. He is able to say, “I don’t know” and its logical next point, “Let’s find someone who does know.” Also, it seems that he knows just enough about politics to know when someone is telling him something that is wrong.

    Now I don’t think he’ll be the next Churchill or Roosevelt, but I do think that he’ll rate at least average or a bit above.