|President of Iceland |
|Office of the President|
|Member of||State Council of Iceland|
|Seat||Garðabær, Capital Region|
|Term length||Four years|
Renewable indefinitely as long as the incumbent wins presidential elections or is uncontested.
|Constituting instrument||Constitution of Iceland|
|Precursor||King of Iceland|
|Formation||17 June 1944|
|First holder||Sveinn Björnsson|
President of the Parliament, Prime Minister and President of the Supreme Court.
|Salary||€289,000 annual (2017)|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The President of Iceland (Icelandic : Forseti Íslands) is the Icelandic elected head of state. The incumbent is Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, who is now in his first term as president, elected in 2016.
Icelandic is a North Germanic language spoken in Iceland. Along with Faroese, Norn, and Western Norwegian it formerly constituted West Nordic; while Danish, Eastern Norwegian and Swedish constituted East Nordic. Modern Norwegian Bokmål is influenced by both groups, leading the Nordic languages to be divided into mainland Scandinavian languages and Insular Nordic.
A head of state is the public persona who officially embodies a state in its unity and legitimacy. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government and more.
Presidential elections took place in Iceland on 25 June 2016. President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, elected in 1996, stepped down after serving five consecutive terms. Historian and lecturer Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was elected after receiving a plurality with 39.1% of the vote. He took office on 1 August, as the first new president of the Nordic country in twenty years.
The president is elected to a four-year term by popular vote, is not term-limited, and has limited powers. The presidential residence is situated in Bessastaðir in Garðabær, near the capital city Reykjavík.
Bessastaðir is today the official residence of the President of Iceland and is situated in Álftanes, not far from the capital city, Reykjavík.
Garðabær is a municipality in the Capital Region of Iceland.
Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói bay. Its latitude is 64°08' N, making it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With a population of around 128,793, it is the center of Iceland's cultural, economic and governmental activity, and is a popular tourist destination.
When Iceland became a Republic in 1944 by the passing of a new Constitution the position of King of Iceland was simply replaced by the President of Iceland. A transitional provision of the new constitution stipulated that the first president be elected by the parliament.
A two-part referendum was held in Iceland between 20 and 23 May 1944. Voters were asked whether the Union with Denmark should be abolished and whether to adopt a new republican constitution. Both measures were approved, each with more than 98% in favour. Voter turnout was 98.4% overall, and 100% in two constituencies, Seyðisfirði and Vestur-Skaftafjellssýsla.
The Monarchy of Iceland, was the system of government in which an hereditary monarch was the sovereign of the Kingdom of Iceland from 1918 to 1944. Under a personal union, due to the Act of Union, the monarch was simultaneously monarch of Denmark. The Parliament of Iceland asked that Denmark represent Iceland internationally, and day-to-day matters were delegated to a Danish plenipotentiary for Icelandic affairs based in Reykjavík, and – after the German invasion of Denmark in 1940 – a regent was appointed.
The word Forseti means "sá sem fremst situr" in Old Norse. It is the name of one of the Æsir, the god of justice and reconciliation in Norse mythology. He is generally identified with Fosite, a god of the Frisians.
Forseti is the god of justice and reconciliation in Norse mythology. He is generally identified with Fosite, a god of the Frisians. Jacob Grimm noted that if, as Adam of Bremen states, Fosite's sacred island was Heligoland, that would make him an ideal candidate for a deity known to both Frisians and Scandinavians, but that it is surprising he is never mentioned by Saxo Grammaticus.
Old Norse was a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements from about the 9th to the 13th centuries.
In Old Norse, ǫ́ss is a member of the principal pantheon in Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr. The second pantheon is known as the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage war against each other, which results in a unified pantheon.
The President appoints ministers to the Cabinet of Iceland, determines their number and division of assignments. Ministers are not able to resign and must be discharged by the President. The ministers are delegated the President's executive powers and are solely responsible for their actions.
The Cabinet of Iceland is the collective decision-making body of the government of Iceland, composed of the Prime Minister and the cabinet ministers.
In the aftermath of general elections, the President has the role to designate a party leader (the one that the President considers most likely to be able to form a majority coalition government) to formally start negotiations to form a government.Sveinn Björnsson and Ásgeir Ásgeirsson played highly active roles in the formation of governments, attempting to set up governments that suited their political preferences, whereas Kristján Eldjárn and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir were passive and neutral as to individuals and parties comprising the government.
Sveinn Björnsson was the first President of the Republic of Iceland (1944–1952).
Ásgeir Ásgeirsson was the second President of Iceland, from 1952 to 1968. He was a Freemason and served as Grandmaster of the Icelandic Order of Freemasons.
Kristján Eldjárn was the third President of Iceland, from 1968 to 1980.
The President and the Cabinet meet in the State Council. The Cabinet must inform the President of important matters of the state and drafted bills. During meetings the Cabinet may also suggest convening, adjourning or dissolving the Parliament.
The President can decide that the prosecution for an offense be discontinued and can also grant pardon and amnesty.
Article 2 of the constitution states that the President and the Parliament jointly exercise the legislative power. The President signs bills passed by the Parliament into law and can choose not to sign them, thus in effect vetoing them. Bills vetoed by the President do take effect immediately, should the Parliament not withdraw them, but they must be confirmed in a referendum. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (1996–2016) is the only President to have vetoed legislation from the Parliament, having done so on three occasions (2004, 2010, 2011). This power was originally intended to be used only in extremely extenuating circumstances.
The President has the power to submit bills and resolutions to the Parliament which it must take under consideration. Should the Parliament not be in session the President can issue provisional laws which must conform with the constitution. Provisional laws become void if the Parliament does not confirm them when it convenes. No President has ever submitted bills nor resolutions, nor issued provisional laws.
Article 30 of the constitution states that the President can grant exceptions from laws. No President has ever exercised this authority.
The President convenes the Parliament after general elections and dissolves it. He can temporarily adjourn its sessions and move them if he deems so necessary. Furthermore, the President opens all regular sessions of the Parliament each year.
The President is the designated grand master of the Order of the Falcon.
The president receives a monthly salary of 2,480,341 ISK. Article 9 of the constitution states the salary cannot be lowered for an incumbent President.
Article 12 of the constitution states that the president shall reside in or near Reykjavík. Since inception the official residence of the President has been Bessastaðir which is in Garðabær.
Articles 4 and 5 of the constitution set the following qualifications for holding the presidency:
Articles 7 and 8 of the constitution state that when the president dies or is otherwise unable to perform his duties, such as when he is abroad or sick, the prime minister, the president of the parliament and the president of the Supreme Court shall collectively assume the power of the office. Their meetings are led by the president of the parliament where they vote on any presidential decisions. The presidential term is completed and a new president is elected by the general public.
Article 11 of the constitution lays out the process by which the president can be removed from office. It states that the president does not bear responsibility for the actions of his government and that he can not be prosecuted without consent of the Parliament. A referendum instigated by the Parliament with 3/4 support must approve of his removal. Once the Parliament has approved of the referendum, the President must temporarily step aside until the results of the referendum are known. The referendum must be held within two months of the vote, and, should the removal be rejected by the people, then the Parliament must immediately be dissolved and a new general election held.
An impeachment has not occurred since the founding of the republic.
There have been six Presidents since the establishment of the republic.
Term:1appointed · 2 died in office · 3 uncontested
|Nº||President||Took office||Left office||Duration||Term||Prime ministers|
|1|| Sveinn Björnsson |
|17 June 1944||25 January 19522||7 years, 7 months, 8 days|
|1 (1944)1|| Björn Þórðarson |
Stefán Jóhann Stefánsson
|Regent of Iceland 1941–1944, later became the first President of Iceland. In 1950 considered forming a government that did not rely on parliamentary support after leaders of the parliamentary parties had reached an impasse. The only President to die in office; this led to a vacancy, the powers of the office being constitutionally vested jointly in the prime minister (Steingrímur Steinþórsson), the President of the Parliament (Jón Pálmason) and the President of the Supreme Court (Jón Ásbjörnsson).|
|2|| Ásgeir Ásgeirsson |
|1 August 1952||1 August 1968||16 years|
|4 (1952)||Steingrímur Steinþórsson|
|First president elected by popular vote.|
|3|| Kristján Eldjárn |
|1 August 1968||1 August 1980||12 years|
|8 (1968)||Bjarni Benediktsson|
Benedikt Sigurðsson Gröndal
|At one point considered forming a government that did not rely on parliamentary support after leaders of the parliamentary parties had reached an impasse.|
|4|| Vigdís Finnbogadóttir |
|1 August 1980||1 August 1996||16 years|
|11 (1980)||Gunnar Thoroddsen|
|Was the world's first elected female president and overwhelmingly won a contested election in 1988.|
|5|| Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson |
|1 August 1996||1 August 2016||20 years|
|15 (1996)||Davíð Oddsson|
Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson
Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson
|First to use the constitutional authorisation to deny signing a law from the parliament, thus sending the law to a national referendum, on three occasions.|
|6|| Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson |
|1 August 2016||Incumbent||3 years, 81 days|
|20 (2016)|| Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson |
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