iceland Reykjavik.jpg
Reykjavík, the capital and largest city of Iceland
Photograph: Photo by Hannah Smith, used under CC BY

Voting began Saturday for a new president in Iceland, with a record nine candidates in the running.

About 240,000 voters were eligible to vote for a successor to Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who is stepping down after 20 years in office.

While largely playing a ceremonial role, the president does influence the formation of government. 

Favourite to win is Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson, a historian specializing on the presidency of Iceland who is running as an independent.

Johannesson won public acclaim for television appearances in April when he commented on events before and after then-premier Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned over leaked data in the Panama Papers suggesting he and his wife had an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands. Both denied wrongdoing.

Other main contenders are author Andri Snaer Magnason, and former conservative premier David Oddsson, who also served as head of the central bank.

Polling stations close at 10 pm (2200 GMT). Results are due Sunday.

Latest news

Chandrasekaran takes over as new chief of India's Tata group

Natarajan Chandrasekaran took over as the chairman of Tata Sons - the holding company that controls India's largest conglomerate, the Tata group - on Tuesday, following a lengthy management feud surrounding the sacking of the former chief.

Greenpeace: Radiation still high in Japan village near nuclear plant

Environmental group Greenpeace Japan warned Tuesday that high radiation levels are still present in a Japanese village that the government is planning to announce is safe for its 6,000 residents to return to, six years after the country's worst atomic disaster.

Energy consumption in EU below its 1990 level but dependency on fossil fuel imports on the rise

In the period from 1990 to 2015 energy consumption in the EU decreased but there was an increase in dependency on fossil fuels, which continued to represent by far the main source of energy, even though all member-countries reduced their share in energy consumption, shows the latest Eurostat report.

Pfizer drug company decides to close plant in Australia, shift production to Croatia

The US pharmaceutical company Pfizer will close the Australian plant which produces the API for HSP-130, a candidate version of Amgen’s Neulasta, and shift production to Croatia, Pfizer told Hina.

Serbian President pulls out of presidential race

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Monday decided not to rerun for the presidency and he and his former party colleague Aleksandar Vucic, who is the incumbent Prime Minister, patched up their conflict, according to local media.

Saucha leaves SDP

Social Democratic Party (SDP) lawmaker Tomislav Saucha, suspected of defrauding the state budget of more than EUR 73,000 by approving fictitious travel orders while serving as former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic's chief-of-staff , on Monday officially cancelled his party membership, the SDP reported.

Flooding hits Indonesian capital Jakarta, hundreds displaced

Widespread flooding hit the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Tuesday after heavy overnight rain fell across the city, emergency services have confirmed.

Milo Yiannopoulous' book deal cancelled over child abuse comments

US publisher Simon & Schuster cancelled Milo Yiannopolous' book deal on Monday after a video emerged of the far-right blogger defending sex with children.

Five killed as plane crashes into shops near airport in Melbourne

All five people aboard a small charter plane were killed Tuesday when it crashed into a shopping centre near Essendon Airport in the Australian city of Melbourne, officials said.

Air France pilots give green light to lower cost subsidiary

Members of Air France's main pilots union on Monday voted to accept the creation of a new lower cost subsidiary that the flag carrier hopes will help it compete on long-haul routes.

US Army General McMaster tapped as Trump's national security advisor

Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster will be the new White House national security advisor, US President Donald Trump told reporters Monday.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.