|Incumbent:||Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson |
Since August 1, 1996
|Formation:||June 17, 1944|
The President of Iceland (Icelandic: Forseti Íslands) is Iceland's elected head of state. The president is elected to a four-year term by universal adult suffrage and has limited powers. The president is not the head of government; the Prime Minister of Iceland is the head of government. There have been five presidents since Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1944. The incumbent is Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who is now in his fourth term as president, being returned unopposed in 2008, having been first elected in 1996.
The presidential residence is situated in Bessastaðir in Álftanes. The nation's constitution specifies that when the president cannot perform the duties of the office, such as when he or she is abroad or under anesthesia, the prime minister, the president of the Althingi (Parliament), and the president of the Supreme Court take over the power vested in the office. The three vote on any presidential decisions that must be made during that time.The president is also the designated Grand Master of the Order of the Falcon.
Since 1944, when the office was created, only five people have held the position of President of Iceland. These are the following:http://english.forseti.is/Index/FormerPresidents/
|Name||Took office||Left office||Notes|
|1||Sveinn Björnsson||17 June 1944||25 January 1952||First President and Regent of Iceland 17 June 1941 - 16 June 1944.The only president to die in office. In 1950 considered forming a government that did not rely on parliamentary support after leaders of the parliamentary parties had reached an impasse. In the period from his death until the next president took office, the seat was vacant but the powers of the office were vested jointly in the prime minister, the president of parliament and the president of the supreme court as the constitution commands.|
|2||Ásgeir Ásgeirsson||1 August 1952||1 August 1968||First elected by popular vote.|
|3||Kristján Eldjárn||1 August 1968||1 August 1980||At one point considered forming a government that did not rely on parliamentary support after leaders of the parliamentary parties had reached an impasse.|
|4||Vigdís Finnbogadóttir||1 August 1980||1 August 1996||Was the world's first elected female president and overwhelmingly won a contested election in 1988.|
|5||Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson||1 August 1996||Present||First president to use the authorization to force a national referendum on a law from Alþingi.|
See main article: Icelandic presidential election, 2004.
See main article: Icelandic presidential election, 2008. In his 2008 New Year's speech, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson announced his desire to stand for a fourth term. No challenger to the incumbent president filed their nomination papers by the deadline on 25 May 2008, and consequently Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson won his fourth term uncontested.