How can I vote in the next Icelandic presidential election?

iceland election

With a presidential election coming up on June 1, it’s a great time to briefly brush up on who can vote in Iceland, where to vote, and how.

Who is eligible to vote?

Icelandic citizens who have reached the age of majority (18) by election day and are legally registered in Iceland are eligible to vote in the presidential elections.

Besides these conditions, there are some special cases to briefly consider.

An Icelandic citizen who has been legally registered in Iceland has voting rights for sixteen years from the time they move domicile from the country. After that period, they must apply to be re-registered to Registers Iceland.

A special consideration also exists for Danish citizens who resided in Iceland prior to its formal independence. So if you are a Danish citizen and were registered as living in Iceland March 6, 1946, or at any time during the last 10 years before that time, you are also eligible to vote for the next Icelandic president.

Read more on the official government website.

Note that these conditions are for parliamentary and presidential elections, in addition to national referendums. Different rules apply for municipal elections, where foreign residents are still eligible to vote if they have been registered to Iceland for three years or more. Slightly different rules also apply to citizens of other Nordic nations.

Where can you vote?

Your polling station will be determined by your residence as stated to Registers Iceland. At their website, you can enter your civil registration number (kennitala) and find where you polling station will be.

Remember that the 2024 presidential elections will take place June 1.

Do I need to bring anything to the polling station?

Yes, Icelandic law does require voters to present identification before voting. This can be in the form of a driver’s license, passport, or civil identity card. Electronic identification is also accepted, so if you have it set up, your phone will be sufficient (though it doesn’t hurt to bring additional identification, just in case).

I will be abroad. Can I still vote?

If you will be travelling or otherwise unable to vote on election day, it is still possible to vote at the district commissioner’s office or at Holtagarðar, if you live in the capital region. Read more here.

If you are an Icelandic citizen registered as living abroad, you will need to contact an Icelandic embassy or consulate. A list of Icelandic embassies and consulates is available here.

I have special circumstances. Can I still vote?

If you are sick and in hospital, in a nursing or residential home, imprisoned, or otherwise unable to make it to a polling station, it is still possible to vote. More information here.

Voting at home is also permitted in cases of illness, disability, or childbirth. Special permission must be applied for no later than two days before elections. Read more.

 

The Centre Can Hold

Einar Þorsteinsson mayor of reykjavík

“My approach to politics is based on the concept of “public service,” says Einar Þorsteinsson, the new mayor of Reykjavík. “The people who enter politics should be there to serve the public.”Already a household name as a TV personality, Einar was primed for the spotlight before making the move into politics. The 45-year-old Kópavogur-born father […]

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Bjarni Benediktsson Sits for Last Parliamentary Session as Finance Minister

bjarni benediktsson finance minister

A session of Alþingi convened today at 10:30 to direct questions at the outgoing Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, regarding his recent decision to step down from office.

However, Bjarni was not directly addressed by any parliament member, RÚV reports. Instead, the session was used to discuss the nature and consequences of his resignation, with some members of the opposition being especially outspoken in their criticism.

Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, Resigns from Office

Bjarni Benediktsson is an Icelandic politician and businessman who served as Minister of Finance for some 10 years, with a break to briefly serve as Prime Minister in 2017. Since 2009, he has also headed the Independence Party. However, Bjarni has found himself embroiled in many scandals throughout his political career, including his involvement in the Vafningur ehf. case, his appearance in the Panama Papers, and most recently, the sale of Íslandsbanki shares. Such associations have earned Bjarni the popular epithet “Teflon.”

His decision to step down from office came in the wake of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s opinion that his handling of the March 2022 sale of Íslandsbanki shares was unsatisfactory. However, the possibility of a new role for Bjarni in government has some critics concerned that his resignation is, in fact, simply “changing seats.”

New Ministerial Role for Bjarni a Possibility

Fellow Independence Party member Jón Gunnarsson, former Minister of Justice, stated that the recent resignation represented the good functioning of the governing coalition. The former minister expressed his satisfaction with how Bjarni had reacted to the report, indicating that there will indeed be changes coming, but that the first steps taken have been positive.

Some ministers have been less optimistic about Bjarni’s recent resignation. Þorbjörg Sigríður Gunnlaugsdóttir, Reform Party MP,  expressed her concern that another ministerial seat awaited Bjarni. Stating that the “humility of the day” was over, she suspected that Bjarni is heading for a post as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

Tjarnarbíó Theatre to “Shut Up Shop” Without Increased Funding

Tjarnarbíó theatre

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, Sara Martí Guðmundsdóttir, Director of the Tjarnarbíó theatre in downtown Reykjavík, stated that despite a record-breaking year of sales, current grants would not suffice for the continued operation of the theatre. Without increased support from the City of Reykjavík or the state, Tjarnarbíó would have to close for good this September.

Theatre to close September 1

Over the past year, organisers, staff, and actors of Tjarnarbíó have tried to draw attention to the poor state of the theatre, Vísir notes. The building has long been too small and run-down; the equipment outdated; and, despite vigorous operations, the theatre has not received sufficient funds to continue to operate.

Yesterday morning, Sara Martí Guðmundsdóttir, Director of Tjarnarbíó, sent an email to all parties involved in next year’s performances to inform them that the theatre would close in September.

“It’s just very sad. Considering how little we need; it’s ridiculous that we have to close. We’re shutting up shop. Simple as that,” Sara Martí told Vísir. “Tjarnarbío will have to close in September if no help is received. After September 1, I can’t afford to pay our staff a salary, and then a whole acting year goes to waste,” she added.

Shutting up shop despite record sales

Sara told Vísir that demand for venues in the performing arts scene had long since outpaced supply, adding that almost no other theatre aside from Tjarnarbíó had attended to the needs of independent troupes. Furthermore, expenses had gone up while the operating subsidy that the theatre receives had remained the same.

“Salaries have increased. The cost of supplies has increased. Everything has gone up. Although we’ve just had a record year – with a record number of viewers – this is the reality that we’re facing.”

“Our scene has long since become too big,” Sara Martí continued. “There are a lot of performing artists who need space. We’re not only referring to theatre troupes but also dance troupes, stand-up comics, and sketch shows. There are a plethora of people who need a stage, and we’re the only theatre attending to their demands. So if the state and the city want a performing arts scene, they need to do something.”

Sara revealed that Tjarnarbíó had been in contact with the City of Reykjavík. “And the last thing we heard was: ‘We can’t help; we can’t come up with the measly ISK 7 million ($51,000 / €47,000) to help you for the rest of the year. Let alone everything else you need to run the business properly.’ And we haven’t heard a thing from the government, even though we’ve sent a memo to them recently.”

“Years of neglect”

As noted by Vísir, Tjarnarbíó has served as one of the few refuges for independent theatre troupes in Iceland; only a small number of grantees from the Performing Arts Fund are accommodated by the big theatres, so Tjarnarbíó has been their home turf.

When asked how the theatre had managed to operate thus far, Sara Martí responded that Tjarnarbíó had managed with the operating grant received from the City of Reykjavík, which amounted to ca. ISK 22 million ($160,000 / €148,000).

“But it’s not enough to remunerate the theatre’s four full-time employees. Because the building is so old, we keep having to spend money on things for which we shouldn’t be paying. The building and the scene itself have been neglected for an awfully long time, which is why we’ve reached this point now. Either someone does something or we have to shut up shop. Because we’ve certainly done everything in our power,” Sara Martí remarked.

She continued by saying that the theatre had accommodated an unprecedented number of troupes during the winter season. With activities from 9 am to 4 pm and evening performances, the theatre operated at full capacity. “I’ve not had a night off throughout the year,” Sara observed.

Numerous troupes left “homeless”

Sara concluded by saying that the closure of the Tjarnarbíó theatre would not only mean the loss of the venue but would also leave numerous troupes “homeless.” Furthermore, the closure would result in the wastage of tens of millions of króna that had already been invested in the performing arts economy.

According to Sara, this would have significant implications, affecting the livelihoods of around 300 performing artists and hundreds of others involved in the industry. She entreated the Minister of Culture, the Mayor of Reykjavík, and the head of the Department of Culture to intervene.

A Matter of State

Evrópuráðið Harpa Reykjavík Pólítík

It’s a cold spring day in Reykjavík and winds buffet optimistic tourists in flip-flops. Above, the sky hangs low, an endless expanse of grey. Normal enough for May. Today, however, bulletproof, black limousines loiter in front of Harpa and reports of cyberattacks filter out of Alþingi. A helicopter belches shimmering-hot wakes of exhaust as it […]

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Deep North Episode 28: A Matter of State

council of europe summit reykjavík

It’s a cold spring day in Reykjavík and winds buffet hopeful tourists in flip-flops. Above, the sky hangs low, an endless expanse of grey. Normal enough for May. Today, however, bulletproof, black limousines loiter in front of Harpa and reports of cyberattacks filter out of Alþingi. A helicopter belches shimmering-hot wakes of exhaust as it lists over Reykjavík rooftops. And on these rooftops, men on radios armed with binoculars and high-powered sniper rifles scan the city below.

For most Icelanders, these are sights only seen in the movies. This is the fourth-ever summit of the Council of Europe, and it’s likely the most important event hosted in the small island nation since the 1986 meeting of Reagan and Gorbachev.

From the Archive: President Vigdís

vigdís finnbogadóttir president of iceland

From the archive: This article was published in Iceland Review magazine in 1982. Archival content may not necessarily reflect the current editorial standards of Iceland Review.

President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir got to know her countrymen intimately during the presidential campaign in early 1980 — the first such campaign in Iceland where the candidates actively electioneered. It pleased her immensely to find out how much people in general knew about their country and its history. She came to the conclusion that common people in Iceland talk together much more than is usual in other countries — rather a novel discovery. She maintains that her experience in the theatre has been very useful in her present job. She is a firm believer in the future of small nations, provided they learn to stick together and utilize their potentials in a rational manner.

I was expected to do one better than the men.

Informality is a hallmark of Icelandic society, so there were no uniformed guards standing inside or out, as I walked into the office of the President, located in an old one-story building facing the central square of Reykjavik. The building, one of the very oldest in town, dating from the mid-eighteenth century, was at one time a Danish prison. President Vigdi’s is a tall, handsome, vital and quick-witted woman in her early fifties. Prior to her elections, she was for eight years manager of the Reykjavik Theatre Company. She is single and has one adopted child, and claims it would be difficult for a man of her generation to be the President’s husband. The pace she set during the campaign, when she travelled throughout the country speaking and meeting people, has continued. She has also made official visits to three of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden, as well as to Great Britain.

Warm and friendly

“Surely you did not envision some two years ago that you would be sitting here today,” I said to President Vigdís after we sat down in her modest office. What made you run for president?

“As soon as it became known that President Kristjan Eldjarn would decline renomination, some of my friends and a number of strangers started coaxing me, pressing me to step forward. Out of the blue, they started enumerating various qualities which would stand me in good stead in this high office. I was supposed to know my country and its people well through my previous occupations. They said I was eloquent in Icelandic as well as in some foreign languages. When the campaign got underway, I was said to be quick to get out of a tight spot and to make a good impression, to be warm and friendly. Not so few also maintained that I never made distinctions among people. This was not only said by my friends, but also by people who did not know me personally. Now as then, I am always equally surprised when people tell me how they see me.”

vigdís finnbogadóttir president of iceland
President Vigdís with Crown Prince Harald and King Olav V of Norway.

I am always equally surprised when people tell me how they see me.

“I think that my teaching in secondary-school and on television has a lot to do with it. I am essentially modest and never believe I can do things as well as they ought to be done, but my upbringing made me ambitious to do my very best in any job. Actually, the idea that I should run for President first came to my attention more than three years ago. I had given a speech to a gathering of intellectuals, and later I was told that, after I left, the idea that I would make a good candidate was aired. At the time I thought the idea was preposterous.”

But you changed your mind?

“Well, when the first candidate came forward, the idea was revived. After Dr. Eldjarn had officially announced his intention of retiring from public life, there was not a moment’s respite. At first I did not really take it seriously, pushed the idea aside, wanted the closing date for announcing candidacies to pass. The other candidates stepped forward, but I hedged despite telegrams and delegations. I even stayed away from the Theatre. Then one night at the home of my friend and colleague, Tomas Zoega, who was the business manager of the Theatre, I decided to run. Several of my friends were present, and their main argument was that it was fitting, in view of the great success of Women’s Day in Reykjavik in 1975, that a woman should stand for election to the highest office of the land. As soon as I had made up my mind, my friends said, We all stand behind you! It never entered my mind that I would get elected, but I also felt sure that my candidacy would not be a total fiasco. I merely wanted to prove that a woman could take part in a presidential campaign on an equal footing with men.”

Obviously a gain for the liberation movement

Did you look upon your candidacy as somehow part of the women’s liberation movement? Or were other considerations more important?

“Not as part of the women’s liberation movement, no. But to me it seemed natural that some woman should run—that she should seek the office as an equal. At the time I happened to be at a crossroads in my life. I had just resigned from my job at the Theatre. I had no ties. I knew I would be exposed to a good deal of criticism during the campaign. But my mother and other close relatives were so old that they would not be told what might be said about me, and my little girl was too young to understand. This appraisal proved correct. I am quite convinced that I would not have run, had I been married.

I now appear so often at meetings all over the country that I could not expect a husband my age to be ready to follow me wherever I go on official business—and people would find it strange for me to be travelling alone most of the time. We live in an era when women still more or less live their lives through their husbands, not the other way around. Women my age very often see their surroundings through the eyes of their husbands, which of course can be excellent binoculars to look through at the world.”

Do you nevertheless look upon your election as a gain for the women’s liberation movement?

“The election was obviously a gain for the liberation movement. But I was not elected as a result of that struggle. If women had joined forces I should have won at least 50 percent of the votes. A very considerable proportion of my votes came from men, particularly old and young ones. The older generation really wanted to elect a woman. It is in truth hard to believe how many of the older generation supported me—especially elderly men. I suppose they were thinking of the future—the future of their daughters. I think men become women’s liberation champions for their daughters, not for their mothers or wives.”

Did you feel that you benefited or suffered for being a woman during the campaign?

The King of Sweden and President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

“Mostly I was treated with respect, even though political fanaticism sometimes raised its ugly head. I have never belonged to a political party, but I have had and still have strong opinions, especially regarding the struggle for the national and cultural independence of our people. This seems to have confused some people. I was supposed to be a communist sympathizer and to be opposed to church and religion. A strange conclusion indeed! This loose use of political labels is not only irritating but downright dangerous. I suppose we are all idealists and sympathize with the ideal of equality. Does that make one a communist? For one thing, how can an Icelandic nationalist possibly accept the subjugation of other nations or condone what has happened and is happening in various parts of the world? I stand for equality, cultural growth, national independence, world peace, and the hope that humanity may avoid a third and final holocaust.”

What was most surprising to you during the presidential campaign?

“My greatest pleasure was meeting this nation of ours. I had never imagined what fun it would be to travel around the country, visit farms and factories, talk to people from all walks of life and discover that they were articulate in a way that is becoming rarer in the big urban centres — to meet people who know their country and its history inside out. It was a revelation. I had mostly seen the country Irom a car window, driving along the highways, but not come into direct contact with the people themselves. It was a great experience, particularly in the sparsely populated areas. I had never expected the impressive qualities of those people. They were so wide awake and well informed. I think the common people in this country talk together much more than is usual in other countries I know.”

Wider powers not the goal

Then, on 1 August 1980, you took office. Was it hard to assume the new role? Were you nervous? Were you apprehensive about replacing your predecessor? Have your experiences in teaching and the theatre been of use to you?

“That’s a big bunch of questions. No, I was not nervous. I don’t think I am the nervous type. I had no idea of what I was in for. Nobody knows beforehand what he or she is in for. My predecessor guided and helped me in every way possible. We were in the peculiar situation of having no trade union to help us. My predecessor performed his duties with such excellence—for years, I had admired his performance—that I felt apprehensive about not being able to do equally well. I have tried my best. But obviously, each of us does the job in accordance with his or her character. It is impossible to imitate others. Each of us creates a different image of the office. But at the same time, we try to preserve established traditions. I don’t want this office to gain wider powers; it should not aim at monarchy. My experience in the theatre has been valuable. Whoever deals with drama gets to know human nature in the most diverse circumstances. I entered this office with the experience that nothing in human nature or conduct is entirely unexpected. Of course, you never know how much you actually do know, but I have learned so much about human beings in the theatre so I don’t judge harshly. I have learned to be tolerant of everything except prejudice.”

president of iceland vigdís

Do you find it hard to be your own real self when you appear in public? Can you say what is on your mind and do what you like in a world where for instance flirting lends a certain colour to life?

“It is hard to change a 51-year-old person even if every opinion should be changed whenever valid reasons suggest that. I don’t find it difficult to appear in public. I always enjoy being with other people and think I am my old self all the time. I hope I’ll never lose the joy of life nor the human touch. Whether you flirt with a child or a man, mutual understanding is always a pleasure, and the moment’s delight from one day to another is what actually counts.”

During your official visit to Denmark last year, the Danes found you more open and outspoken than is common for heads of state. Do you think they were right? If so, do you consider this an asset?

The President should be as close to the people as possible.

“There is no doubt that as a popularly elected, non-political head of state I can allow myself to say more than royalty can. It is obvious that those brought up in a certain manner to fulfill prescribed duties have a different attitude. I never make a political statement and take no stand on political questions – unless we agree that the whole of life is in a certain sense politics. I am very discreet and try not to change that strand in my nature. I would never dream of revealing secrets, and find myself to be one of the most reticent Icelanders now alive — like a doctor who has taken his Hippocratic oath. That’s why I could follow my intuition and say what I wanted to have in the headlines of next day’s papers in Denmark.”

Nationality and culture

How do you look at the role of the President beyond the traditional one?

“The traditional role is trying to be alert to everything concerning Icelandic nationality and culture. The President should engender, among the people at large, a feeling of genuine mutual friendship. I try to talk personally to everybody when I meet groups. The President should be as close to the people as possible, for the office is first and foremost a symbol of national unity.”

What is it in Icelandic culture that, in your opinion, should be especially cultivated and stressed?

Vigdís Alongside Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

“The preservation of our language and a steady stimulation of all creative efforts. In many ways we are unique in our creativity. If we look after our culture as well as our children, we consciously strive for what all humanity yearns for: peace. Nobody can believe in the future without working for peace. Wishful thinking is not enough. We have to follow closely what is happening in the world and state categorically: This we want but that we do not want. We have to demand that all the money now squandered on armaments and international power politics should be channelled to make use of the marvellous scientific discoveries of modern times in the service of the hungry and the needy. We have found the means to halt the population explosion. I refuse to believe that we cannot find the means to halt the greed for power. I am an idealist on behalf of children. Those jockeying for power around the world have only ten or twenty years to go. They must not leave the coming generations with a world threatened by annihilation.”

The small nations of the world have a future.

“Youth should protest instead of losing hope and taking refuge in drugs to dull the senses. Only a lack of will to live can make a person try to dull the senses in order to survive.” Do you think the small nations of the world have a future, considering the so-called brain drain, which deprives them of their ablest minds and best-educated citizens?

“I feel convinced that the small nations of the world have a future once they realize that by sticking together they are a major power. It may not be possible to stop brain drain entirely, but it can be diminished if the small nations co-operate and exchange talents for certain tasks, just as farmers share tractors. Nordic co-operation is a case in point. The Nordic countries are a cultural superpower, no doubt about it. They have produced a culture which reaches the masses, and publish newspapers and weeklies which enhance sensibilities and rational thinking.”

You have been asked to open the Scandinavia Today exposition in Washington D.C. next September on behalf of the Nordic heads of state?

“Yes, I am proud to have been asked to do that and am very much looking forward to the occasion. This is a dream I have long known would come true. I am proud of being a spokeswoman for all the Nordic countries on that occasion, and it is a great compliment to us that they have this confidence in me, underlining the fact that Icelanders were the first Europeans to write in the vernacular, nearly 900 years ago.”

Council of Europe to be Held in Reykjavík

Reykjavík pond downtown

The Council of Europe is to be held in Reykjavík in May of next year. The meeting is to be the fourth-ever meeting in the organisation’s 73-year history, taking place 16-17 May, 2023.

The Council of Europe, a distinct organisation from the European Union, is an international body tasked with upholding human rights and rule of law in Europe. Founded after the Second World War, its best-known body is the European Court of Human Rights.

Faced with new crises in Europe, from the war in Ukraine and the accompanying energy crisis to the economic disruptions of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation has announced that it is time to redouble efforts to promote democracy and justice in Europe.

Some 46 nations are party to the Council of Europe

In a press release from the Council of Europe, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated: “It is a great honour for Iceland to be the host of the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government. Iceland is convinced that the Council of Europe – the continent’s oldest and leading pan-European organization – has a critical role to play as the region’s guardian of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Together, we must continue to ensure that the Council of Europe is fit for purpose to meet current and future challenges as well as the expectations of future generations. We applaud the Irish presidency for their in-depth work on the role of the Council and look forward to working with all the Council’s Member States to reaffirm our common commitment to the Council’s core principles.”

Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić also stated: “The decision to hold a Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Governments is timely and right. I congratulate the Committee of Ministers on taking it. The Summit will be an opportunity for all our member states to recommit to the values that underpin democratic security in our fast-changing continent.”

“The task is massive,” PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir tells Arctic Council

Arctic Circle

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir addressed the audience at the Arctic Circle conference yesterday. In her speech, Katrín warned that if sufficient action wasn’t taken today, the arctic could “become unrecognisable” in the future.

Facilitating dialogue between interested parties

The Arctic Circle is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organisation founded by former President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former publisher Alice Rogoff, and former Premier of Greenland Kuupik Kleist, among others. The organisation aims to facilitate dialogue between governments, organisations, corporations, universities, think tanks, environmental associations, indigenous communities, concerned citizens, and other stakeholders to address issues facing the Arctic as a result of climate change and melting sea ice.

During the opening of the 2022 Arctic Circle Assembly yesterday, October 13, at the Harpa Conference Hall in Reykjavík, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir addressed the audience. Katrín began her speech on a note of positivity, acknowledging the “broad political determination” to protect the Arctic and capitalise on present opportunities:

“On the positive side, we see expanding scientific networks, greater knowledge with both the public and businesses and growing skills, there is more investment in green technology, and we are witnessing various green solutions emerging.” However, Katrín noted, the Arctic could become “unrecognisable in a few decades” if further decisive action was not taken.

“Everything is changing – we see more extreme weathers around the globe – only in the last two weeks we saw hundreds of trees here in Iceland being ripped up by their roots because of extreme storms in the eastern part of the country. We see glaciers receding, permafrost is melting, heat records are beaten and forests are burning. And all this is happening much faster in the Arctic – where the ecosystem is sensitive and the resources are great.”

Some of these resources, Katrín noted, should not be meddled with: “We see big business and big countries showing more and more interest in the Arctic – not least because of its rich resources which should not all be harnessed. I applaud the decision of the government of Greenland not to drill for oil – my government has also declared that we will not issue licences for oil exploration in Iceland’s exclusive economic zone and this will be put into legislation.”

Condemning the war in Ukraine

Alongside addressing climate-related issues in the Arctic, Katrín also turned her attention to the war in Ukraine and the exclusion of Russia from the Council: “Our region is directly affected as the aggressor is an important player in the Arctic with legitimate interests. But Russia’s illegitimate actions made it impossible for us not to respond and they were rightly excluded from the Arctic Council. From day one Iceland has condemned Russia’s aggression in the strongest possible way. Iceland has solidly supported Ukraine, and we will continue to do so, together with our Nordic, European, US, and Canadian friends.”

Katrín concluded her speech with a nod to the massiveness of the task lying ahead:

“This room is full of hope and concerns for the future of the Arctic. We represent different interests, different politics, different ideas. But we should all be united in the will to protect the Arctic and provide a sustainable future for the local populations in the area, as well as for our ecosystems. The task is massive, but the solutions exist, it is ours to get the job done.”

Foreign Nationals to Receive Icelandic Citizenship after Controversial Withholding of Applications

Alþingi Icelandic parliament

RÚV reports that six foreign citizens are to be naturalised as Icelandic citizens following a delay that was caused by the Directorate of Immigration withholding their applications.

The six new Icelanders are respectively from Mongolia, Russia, South Africa, Kosovo, and Iran.

Read more: Directorate of Immigration Withholds Citizenship Applications

In addition to the normal process of receiving citizenship through residence and application, parliament can also grant citizenship through decree in Iceland. These special applications are generally for individuals in extenuating circumstances, though some critics such as Bjarni Benediktsson have stated that these special applications constitute too large a proportion of Icelandic naturalisations.

These citizenship applications through decree are still processed by the Directorate of Immigration, however, and there was controversy when earlier in the year, the Directorate refused to hand over the relevant application to parliament. Notably, this deliberate withholding was illegal, and caused outcry among politicians who insisted that legal process be followed.

Now, the relevant application have finally been submitted and the path has been cleared to Icelandic citizenship for the six.

Parliament generally naturalises Icelandic citizens twice a year: at the end of the year and before summer break.