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World > Europe > Iceland > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Iceland - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT
The president, elected to a 4-year term, has limited powers. When Iceland became a republic in 1944, the post of president was created to fill the void left by the Danish king. Although the president is popularly elected and has limited veto powers (he can force a public referendum on a proposed law by refusing to sign it--a power that has only once been exercised), the expectation is that the president should play the same limited role as a monarch in a traditional parliamentary system.

The prime minister and cabinet exercise most executive functions. The parliament is composed of 63 members, elected every 4 years unless it is dissolved sooner. Suffrage for presidential and parliamentary elections is universal for those 18 and older, and members of the parliament are elected on the basis of parties' proportional representation in six constituencies. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, district courts, and various special courts. The constitution protects the judiciary from infringement by the other two branches.

Principal Government Officials
President--Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
Prime Minister--Geir H. Haarde
Foreign Minister--Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir
Minister of Finance--Árni M. Mathiesen
Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs--Björn Bjarnason
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries--Einar Kristinn Guđfinnson
Minister of Communications--Kristján L. Möller
Minister of Industry and Nordic Cooperation--Össur Skarphéđinsson
Minister for the Environment--Ţórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir
Minister of Commerce--Björgvin G. Sigurđsson
Minister of Health--Guđlaugur Ţór Ţórđarson
Minister of Social Affairs--Jóhanna Sigurđardóttir
Minister of Education, Science and Culture--Ţorgerđur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir
Speaker of Althingi--Sturla Böđvarsson
Ambassador to the U.S.--Albert Jónsson
Ambassador to the UN--Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Ambassador to NATO--Gunnar Gunnarsson
Ambassador to the EU-- Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson

transliteration key:
Ţ is 'th' đ is 'd'

Iceland maintains an embassy in the United States at 1156 - 15th Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005 [tel. (202) 265-6653], and a consulate general at 800 Third Ave, 36th floor, New York, NY 10022 [tel. (212) 593-2700]. Iceland also has 25 honorary consulates in major U.S. cities.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Iceland Krona Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Iceland Krona Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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