Iceland is a constitutional republic with a multi-party system. It is arguably the world’s oldest parliamentary democracy, with the Parliament, Alþingi, established in the year 930.
The President of Iceland is the head of state and the only representative chosen by the entire electorate in a direct election.
The national government of Iceland is responsible for establishing laws and regulations and providing government services related to justice, healthcare, infrastructure, employment, and secondary and university level education to name a few examples.
The current ruling coalition of Iceland is made up of three political parties, the Progressive Party, the Independence Party, and the Left Green Party. They hold a 54% majority between them. The current prime minister is Katrín Jakobsdóttir. The coalition agreement outlining their policy and vision for governance is available in English here.
The head of state is the President. Executive power is exercised by the Government. Legislative power is vested in both the Parliament and the President. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Read more about the current ruling coalition ministers.
There are two levels of government in Iceland, the national government and the municipalities. Every four years, residents of the various electoral districts elect their representatives to the local government to oversee the implementation of services and local democracy. Local municipality governing bodies are elected officials working closest to the public. They are responsible for local services for the inhabitants of the municipalities.
Local authorities in municipalities establish regulations while providing services for citizens who reside there, such as preschool and primary school education, social services, child protection services, and other services related to community needs.
The municipalities are responsible for policy implementation in local services such as educational institutions, public transportation, and social welfare services. They are also responsible for technical infrastructure in each municipality, such as drinking water, heating, and waste treatment. Finally, they are responsible for planning development and carrying out health and safety inspections.
As of 1st January 2021, Iceland is divided into 69 municipalities, each with its own local government. Municipalities have rights and obligations towards their residents and the state. An individual is considered a resident of the municipality where their legal domicile is registered.
Therefore, everyone is required to register with the relevant local municipality office when moving to a new area.
As per Article 3 of Election Law on voting and the right to be voted, foreign nationals who are 18 years of age and older have the right to vote in local government elections after having been legally domiciled in Iceland for three consecutive years. Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish citizens aged 18 and older acquire the right to vote as soon as they register their legal domicile in Iceland.
More information about municipalities in Iceland.
The President of Iceland is the head of state and the only representative chosen by the entire electorate in a direct election. The office of President was established in the Constitution of the Republic of Iceland which took effect on 17 June in 1944.
The current president is Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.
The president is elected by direct popular vote for a term of four years, with no term limit. The president resides in Bessastaðir in Garðabær in the capital region.
- Website of the Parliament of Iceland
- Website of the Icelandic Presidency
- Constitution of the Republic of Iceland
- Find your municipality
- About the current president of Iceland
- Democracy - island.is
Iceland is a constitutional republic with a multi-party system.