POSTED: 1:29 a.m. HST, Jul 1, 2012
REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who turned his ceremonial office into a position of power by rejecting a deal that would have put taxpayers on the hook for $5 billion, has been re-elected to a fifth term.
The vote makes him the longest-serving president in Icelandic history.
The election Saturday hinged on how politically active the president should be. Grimsson took advantage of his role signing parliamentary legislation by refusing to OK two controversial bills, triggering referendums.
In a preliminary count, Grimsson took 52.2 per cent of the vote. Closest challenger Thora Arnordsdottir had 33.8 per cent.
Grimsson was criticized after the financial crisis for cheerleading the business sector, but earned back support by rejecting a deal that would have made taxpayers pay back British and Dutch deposits in a failed online bank.