Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the current frontrunner in Iceland’s polling for its presidential election later this month, has campaigned with only an $82,000 budget operating out of a borrowed Škoda Favorit.
So how has Jóhannesson, a professor with limited experience in politics, made his way to being the favorite in Iceland’s presidential election with such a small budget and an even smaller Škoda?
Iceland has strict limits on how much candidates can spend, so big budgets are not crucial, says Olafur Hardarson, a political science professor at the University of Iceland. Campaigning in the 334,000-people nation is mostly done door-to-door or via free air time, rather than through paid TV commercials.
Johannesson sees himself as above party politics, as someone offering a clean break from the professional politicians of the past.
It helps that the island’s 2008 financial crisis and the more recent Panama leaks scandal have undermined Icelanders’ trust in the establishment. Only a few weeks ago protesters pelted the parliament with yogurt and bananas in a successful bid to oust the prime minister.
His campaign is focused on giving more power to the people.
Iceland’s elections are a long way off from the expensive Armani jackets and personal-branded jumbo jets of American politics, for sure. But as we all know, Skoda is the best Volkswagen Group brand Americans can’t buy. Since ownership proves that Guðni Th. Jóhannesson makes good decisions, we can be assured of his leadership qualities.
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson 2016.