homeIceland travel guide > Iceland government
Iceland guide
Regions
Traveler café 
Travel directory
 
Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Iceland Government
Iceland Government - TravelPuppy.com
Executive power is vested in the President and Government, while legislative authority rests mutually with the President and the 63 member Alþing (Parliament). Both are elected for 4 year terms. The Alþing has recently been reduced from 2 houses to 1.

The Icelantic government is republic. Iceland gained full independence from Denmark in 1944.

The Head of State has been President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson since 1996. The Head of Government has been Prime Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson since 2004.

At the General Election in April 1991, the Independence Party (IP) emerged as the biggest grouping in the Alþing and formed a coalition administration with the smaller SDP. The ex Mayor of Reykjavík, David Oddsson, who had effectively taken over the leadership of the IP, was made Prime Minister. Oddsson was re elected at the 1995 General Election, but a decline in support for the IP later required him to form a coalition administration with the Progressive Party (PP). At the most recent poll in 2003, Oddsson reserved his position as Prime Minister in coalition Government. However, in 2004, Oddsson handed over premiership to former Foreign Minister Halldor Asgrimsson.

Meanwhile, Icelandic foreign policy is dominated by 2 factors, fishing and relations with Atlantic powers. Iceland is a member of NATO, the Nordic Council and of the Council of Europe. Ties with NATO have been loosening since before the end of the Cold War, in May 1985, the Alþing declared Iceland a nuclear free zone – and this process has accelerated since the reduction of the large NATO base at Keflavik. Iceland has historically avoided membership of the European Union but, since Finland, Sweden and Denmark have joined up, it is Iceland’s opposition to the EU’s fisheries policy of stock management by quotas that is now the decisive influence.

Both major parties strongly oppose the Common Fisheries Policy, so it seems unlikely that Iceland will apply for EU membership in the predictable future. On the issue of whaling, Iceland has been among the few objecting to the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) ban, in 1992, the Government withdrew from the IWC. In 2001, it applied to rejoin however, having declared its intention to resume commercial whaling, was only granted observer status.

Executive power is vested in the President and Government, while legislative authority rests jointly with the President and the 63 member Alþing (Parliament). Both are elected for 4 year terms. The Alþing has recently been reduced from 2 houses to 1.
Useful travel links
Government Iceland Official offices of Iceland