What Is the Difference Between the Prime Minister And the President of Iceland? Skip to content

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Golli. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Queen Margarethe II of Denmark, President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and his wife, Eliza Reid
Golli. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Queen Margarethe II of Denmark, President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and his wife, Eliza Reid
Q

What Is the Difference Between the Prime Minister And the President of Iceland?

A
Iceland is a constitutional republic with a multi-party political system. The Republic of Iceland was founded in 1944 after centuries under Norwegian and later Danish rule. Since 1944, Iceland has had six presidents and 20 Prime Ministers.
The Prime Minister is the head of the Government and usually has a seat in Parliament, much like prime ministers in the Nordic countries and the UK. They’re often the head of a political party and have an active political role. Iceland’s current Prime Minister is Katrín Jakobsdóttir, head of the Left-Green party.
Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Golli. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir outside the Government’s Office in the city centre
The President is Iceland’s Head of State, a ceremonial figurehead much like kings and queens in other Nordic countries and the UK. While they appoint ministers to Iceland’s cabinet and their signature is required for parliament-approved legislation to take effect, their political power is limited. Traditionally, their political role has been a passive one. Iceland’s current president is historian Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.
President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.
Golli. President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson outside Bessastaðir, the Presidential Residence
The difference between Iceland’s presidents and monarchs in neighbouring countries is that the presidents have been known to exercise their political power in matters they considered especially important, by appointing controversial cabinets or vetoing legislation they believed unjust. These occasions are, however, very rare.

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