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Iceland’s President Easily Wins Third Term

June 26, 1988

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) _ Vigdis Finnbogadottir swept to a third term as Iceland’s president, overwhelmingly defeating another woman for the post, according to final ballot results released Sunday.

Mrs. Finnbogadottir had more than 94 percent of Saturday’s vote and her rival, Sigrun Thorsteinsdottir, garnered less than 6 percent.

Election officials said about 75 percent of the 173,800 eligible voters in the sparsely populated Atlantic island nation cast ballots.

Mrs. Thorsteinsdottir, who conceded defeat in a television interview after polls closed Saturday, said the election had been a great victory for all ″democratic and freedom-loving people in Iceland″ as opposed to the ″autocratic and monarchist″ supporters of the establishment.

President Finnbogadottir said in a television interview she was delighted by the results and that any incumbent president would be satisfied with such overwhelming support.

Vigdis, as the president is popularly known among the 250,000 Icelanders, was the world’s first democratically elected woman head of state. She defeated three men in 1980.

She was re-elected without opposition in 1984 and was host of the Reykjavik superpower summit in October 1986.

Mrs. Thorsteinsdottir has been active within the Humanist Party, which so far has failed to get a representative elected to the Althing, the world’s oldest parliament.

Mrs. Thorsteinsdottir ran on a platform of giving the presidential office a more active role. Mrs. Finnbogadottir maintained that the presidency was created as a ceremonial post and should remain so.

The real power in Iceland rests with the prime minister, Thorsteinn Palsson.

Saturday was the first time an incumbent president has faced a re-election challenge since Iceland, formerly under Danish rule, became a republic in 1944.

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