Iceland is a democratic unitary legal state, a republic with a presidential form of government. The Constitution of 1944 is valid with amendments and additions (May 30, 1984 and May 31, 1991). Elections are held every 4 years and all citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote. Check computerminus for political system of Iceland.
Administratively, it is divided into 23 districts (sisla), 200 rural communities and 23 cities.
The head of state is the president, personifies the highest executive power, is elected by direct vote for a term of 4 years. The President’s power is limited and representative. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson has been President since August 1, 1996. In 2000, the parliament decided, given the great popularity of the president and the lack of opponents, to extend his powers without holding elections. The residence of the President is Bessastadir.
The government – the cabinet of ministers headed by the prime minister – is responsible to the Althing, but the ministers are appointed by the president. Following the results of the elections to the Althingi on May 10, 2003, the coalition government consisting of the PN and PP continued its work. The prime minister, chairman of the PN D. Oddsson, is a political long-liver in Europe, he heads the fourth government (in 1991–95 in coalition with the Social Democratic Party of Iceland (SDPI), in 1995–99 in coalition with the PP).
Legislative power belongs to the unicameral Althingi (Althingi), which is considered the oldest in Europe, it is called the “great-grandfather of parliaments.” Consists of 63 deputies.
The party-political system is close to Scandinavian, although inter-party cooperation is carried out “over ideological barriers.” On the right flank, the largest, the PN (conservative, Sjalfstaedhisflokkur), took shape in 1929. Adjacent to it is the PP (Agrarian-Liberal Union, Framsoknarflokkurinn), founded in 1916. in 1916, which traditionally enjoys the support of part of the Federation of Icelandic Trade Unions. Ideologically close to it is the People’s Union—NS (Althydhubandalalagid), founded in 1956 as an electoral bloc of leftist socialists and communists.
In the regular parliamentary elections held on May 10, 2003, the PN, led by the current Prime Minister Oddsson, received 33.7% of the vote (22 deputies). Cabinet ally of the PP, headed by Halldor Asgrimsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 17.7% (12 seats). The largest increase compared to the previous elections in 1999 was received by the SDS, led by the popular Gisladottir, the former mayor of Reykjavik, their result was 31% (20 deputies). Left Green Alliance – 8.8% (5 seats), liberals – 7.4% (4 deputies). Although the ruling coalition has lost 4 mandates compared to 1999, it managed to form a cabinet of ministers and maintain the former directions of its policy.
The judicial system is carried out at two levels: the Supreme Court of 5 members, who are appointed by the president for life, and 26 local (in addition to a number of special) courts.
Domestic politics is dominated in various combinations by a coalition of four political parties. The most important topics of election campaigns are tax policy issues, the struggle for access to fishing quotas and environmental issues. fleet.
The main topic of domestic political discussions is relations with the EU. Although the country in 1994 (together with Norway and Liechtenstein) signed an agreement with the EU on the Common Economic Space (CES) and thereby regulated its trade and economic relations, Reykjavik fears full membership because of the EU’s fishing policy.
Iceland stubbornly opposed attempts by international environmental organizations to impose a moratorium on whaling and agreed to it only in 1989 under the threat of a trade boycott. All R. 1990s the government approved the resumption of whaling on a limited scale, and later decided to resume it from 2006, which caused a sharp debate: whalers are not satisfied with the delay, and tourism companies believe that it will undermine their business.
The main directions of Icelandic foreign policy are based on: 1) northern cooperation, in particular within the framework of the Nordic Council; 2) NATO membership; 3) close ties with the EU through the CES agreement; 4) participation in the UN, especially on environmental and environmental issues, and 5) continued cooperation on defense issues with the United States.
The security policy is determined by the geostrategic position of the island, which plays a key role in the defense of North America. In 1946, the Althingi decided to transfer the airfield in Keflavik (50 km from Reykjavik) to the US Air Force base. In 1948 the country joined the Marshall Plan, and in 1949 joined NATO. In a difficult international situation, on May 5, 1951, an American-Icelandic “defense agreement” was concluded, which secured the status of a US military base. The unfolding movement for the withdrawal of foreign troops forced the government to repeatedly discuss the issue of their presence. In 1985, the Althing declared Iceland a “nuclear-free zone”, banning NATO from placing any nuclear weapons on its territory.
Relations with European neighbors and their integration associations – the EU and EFTA developed depending on the solution of fisheries problems. Struggling to preserve the conditions for the reproduction of fish resources, Iceland expanded in 1952 the boundaries of the fishing zone from 3 to 6 nautical miles. In 1958, Iceland extended its jurisdiction to 12 nautical miles, which provoked protests from Great Britain. In 1972, the border was again extended to 50 nautical miles, which led to a “fish war” and skirmishes between Icelandic and English ships. In 1975 – already up to 200 nautical miles, which provoked the third and most serious “cod” war. These contradictions were resolved only by the beginning. 1990s during negotiations between EFTA and the EEC. The final document, adopted in 1994, recognized the rights of Iceland in its concessions to the EU, which did not eliminate mutual disputes.
In accordance with the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (entered into force on November 16, 1994), Iceland needs to resolve the problem of limiting the shelf to the south – the Reikney ridge and the Hatton Rokal area, to the west – in the Herring Luphall area. Iceland, Denmark (on behalf of the Faroe Islands), Great Britain and Ireland are involved in difficult negotiations. The principle is not defined – delimitation or joint exploitation, but Reykjavik in the spring of 2000 invited London to start bilateral consultations.
Since the EU fishing policy is contrary to the economic interests of Iceland, its government refrains from participating in this organization. After the fifth enlargement of the EU, the Commission of the European Union put forward a requirement for Reykjavik to pay contributions to EU funds at the level of 127-155 million euros for the access of Icelandic products to its enlarged markets. When joining the EU as a full member, Iceland’s contribution may range from 57 to 86 million euros in case of the loss of national control over the access of foreign seiners to Icelandic waters. Only the SDS advocates from a pro-European position for holding a referendum on the integration issue until 2007. Preserving the ruling coalition, consisting of the PN and PP, will not lead to a change in the policy of the ruling leadership.
In NATO, small Iceland intends to keep up with the allies and participate in peacekeeping operations: a list of 100 volunteers (policemen, doctors, engineers, rescuers) has been formed for such missions. As an active member of the UN, Iceland put forward its candidacy and was supported by the Nordic countries as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2009-10. Icelandic fishing companies are actively sharing their experience and technology with the UN Fisheries Commission.
With the exception of a few patrol vessels of the Coast Guard Service – 120 people, the country has no armed forces. But it remains a strategically important member of NATO and, on the basis of the bilateral Icelandic-American treaty of 1951 (extended in 1996), Keflavik Airport is the base for the US Air Force. Here are St. 2 thousand people American military personnel and civilian Icelandic citizens, the Icelandic Defense Forces are deployed in NATO as part of the 85th US Air Force Group (AWACS, R-3C, RS and KS-135 aircraft) and 25 services and commands.
Iceland has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR in 1944, and since 1926 maintained through Denmark). She was the first among Western countries to recognize the independence of the Baltic countries, her embassy in Moscow represents interests in the CIS.