Iceland is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. Iceland (official name: Republic of Iceland) remains outside the European Union; and though the country has no armed forces it is a member of NATO.
President is the chief of the state and is elected by popular vote for a four-year term. President’s role is largely ceremonial. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed as the Prime Minister by the President for a four year term. Prime Minister is the head of the government and holds the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. Prime Minister also appoints the Cabinet.
The legislature in Iceland is unicameral. The Parliament consists of 63 seats, its members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Prime Minister cannot dissolve the parliament directly but can recommend the same to the President. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament.The people of Iceland enjoy considerable political rights.
The country’s judiciary is independent. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1944 which has been amended many times. The legal system is based on system civil law system originating from Danish law. Iceland has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Icelandic is the judicial language used in Iceland.
Iceland is ruled by law. The country’s judicial system guarantees equal treatment to foreign nationals. Iceland is one of the least corrupt nations in the world.
Major political parties
Iceland has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.The major political parties in the country are:
- IP (Independence Party) – centre-right conservative political party, opposes joining of EU;
- PP (Progressive Party) - an agrarian and liberal political party;
- Alliance – a social-democratic party, based on alliance of People's Alliance (PA), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Women's List;
- LGM (Left-Green Movement) – advocates traditional socialistic values, feminism and environmentalism;
- LP (Liberal Party) – a liberal party, opposes joining of EU & Iraq war.
Major political leaders
President: Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since August 1996, latest re-election in June 2004) – non-partisan
Prime Minister: Geir H. HAARDE (since June 2006) – IP, running coalition government with PP
Next political election dates
Presidential: June 2008 Parliamentary: May 2011