President of Iceland
The President of Iceland
The President of Iceland is elected by direct popular vote for a term of four years, with no term limit.
The Icelandic constitution is very similar to the Danish constitution and some articles have even been copied and translated over to Icelandic.
The Constitution gives the Icelandic president plenty of power, but in reality, he has a more representative role. This tradition has been established for a long time since the Icelandic president is the successor of the Danish king, who has had a more representative role as well. The president is supposed to be party-neutral. It lies in his responsibility to build the government.
The President of Iceland is elected for a term of four years. Under the Constitution, the president delegates executive power to governmental authorities. The president and the Althingi exercise legislative power.
When bills have been passed they are submitted to the president within two weeks to become effective as law. If the President refuses to approve the bill, it nevertheless takes effect, but must then be subjected to a general referendum as soon as possible and becomes invalid if it is rejected; otherwise, it remains in force.
The fourth president of Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is probably the most famous of the Icelandic presidents. One of the reasons for her popularity is that Vigdís was both Iceland’s and Europe’s first female president reportedly the world’s first democratically elected female head of state.
What may have attracted people to Vigdís is that she was easy to identify with. Having studied French and history of theater she worked as teacher, tour guide and artistic director of the Reykjavík Theater Company for many years. The divorcee later became a working single mother when she adopted a child in 1972.
Vigdís narrowly won the presidential elections in 1980 with 33.6 percent of the national vote, over three male opponents. She was subsequently re-elected three times, unopposed in 1984 and 1992, but with about 95 percent of the votes cast in 1988.
During her presidency, Vigdís fought hard for women's rights and thanks to her significant role, gender equality in Iceland is among the highest in the world. She retired in 1996 but remains extraordinarily popular and adored by the Icelandic people.
A survey conducted in 2005 named Vigdís the most influential Icelandic politician of all time, beating the currentpresident of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.