Iceland's polls have closed in its presidential election, with incumbent Olafur Ragnar Grimsson looking set to win a record fifth term in office. In doing so, he would defeat 37-year-old journalist Thora Arnorsdottir.
An early counting of votes from five out of six constituencies on Sunday showed Grimsson winning 52.5 percent of the votes. Arnorsdottir, a mother of three, including a newborn, won 33.2 percent of the vote.
Grimsson, 69, was leading the polls in the weeks prior to the election, riding on a wave of support for his defiance of Britain and the Netherlands over massive debts from a bank crash.
Earlier this year, Arnorsdottir had led in the polls, after Grimsson said he would not stand for re-election. But a petition of 30,000 signatures encouraged the incumbent to reconsider. In March, Grimsson announcd he would run after all.
Arnorsdottir's campaign had focused on returning the presidency to its largely ceremonial role after Grimsson's rather political approach.
Grimsson made headlines, for example, by vetoing bills approved by the center-left government in parliament to pay about 3.9 billion euros ($5 billion) to compensate Britain and the Netherlands after they bailed out those who had money frozen in accounts in an Icelandic bank that collapsed in 2008.
The vetoes angered Britain and the Netherlands, but Icelanders overwhelmingly approved of his actions.
tm/ccp (AFP, Reuters)