ÍSLAND
Officially: Lýðveldið Ísland.
English: Iceland.
Seat of government: Reykjavík.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The parliament (Alþingi) is elected in multi-member geographical constituencies modified by proportional representation, and chooses the government.
Governing parties: Sjálvstæðisflokkurin; Viðreisn; Björt Framtíð.
Head of government: Bjarni Benediktsson, SF, prime minister (since 2017).
Opposition parties: Vinstrihreyfingin – Grænt Framboð; Píratar; Frámsoknarflokkurin; Samfylkingin – Jafnaðarmannaflokkur Íslands.
Assessment: Long stable republican tradition. Halldór Ásgrímsson (2004-6) of the FF had led a coalition with the SF, before Geir Haarde (2006-9) of the SF replaced him. In the 2007 elections, the SF won a strong plurality, the FF lost considerable ground, and Geir led a new coalition with the Samfylkingin. Ísland underwent one of the worst manifestations of the global credit crisis. Elections had been called, with Geir to resign afterwards regardless; but the government later resigned with immediate effect in early 2009, and was replaced with a center-left coalition led by Samfylkingin, which took office with a minority; Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (2009-13) became prime minister. The coalition won snap elections that spring and secured a majority, on a strong pro-EU platform. Negotiations with the EU broke down over remuneration of EU citizens for bank failures; banks based in Ísland had been active abroad, and many Ísland citizens were against using tax money for the compensation. Elections in 2013 saw strong gains by the SF and FF, both opposed to EU concessions; Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (2013-6) of the FF became prime minister of an FF-SF coalition; he resigned in an investment scandal and was replaced by Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson (2016-7), also of the FF, with a new election in late 2016, with the SF finishing first and the FF collapsing.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 9.65 (3), full democracy.
Updated: 2017 January 21.
 

O.T. FORD