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Iceland: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Iceland
conventional short form: Iceland
local long form: Lydveldid Island
local short form: Island
CapitalReykjavik Reykjavik
geographic coordinates: 64 09 N, 21 57 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions8 regions; Austurland, Hofudhborgarsvaedhi, Nordhurland Eystra, Nordhurland Vestra, Sudhurland, Sudhurnes, Vestfirdhir, Vesturland
Constitutionseveral previous; latest ratified 16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944 (at independence); amended many times, last in 2013; note - a new constitution drafted in 2012 in the aftermath of the country's banking collapse was voted down in April 2013 by the recently elected parliament, though several amendments were passed (2013)
Executive branchchief of state: President Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since 1 August 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Sigmundur David GUNNLAUGSSON (since 23 May 2013)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
elections: president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held on 30 June 2012 (next to be held in June 2016); note - following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister
election results: Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON elected president; percent of vote - Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON 52.8%, Thora ARNORSDOTTIR 33.2%, Ari Trausti GUDMUNDSSON 8.6%, other 5.4%
Flag descriptionblue with a red cross outlined in white extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); the colors represent three of the elements that make up the island: red is for the island's volcanic fires, white recalls the snow and ice fields of the island, and blue is for the surrounding ocean
Independence1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark; birthday of Jon SIGURDSSON leader of Iceland's 19th Century independence movement)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court or Haestirettur (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges proposed by Ministry of Interior selection committee and appointed by the president; judges appointed for an indefinite period
subordinate courts: 8 district courts; Labor Court
Legal systemcivil law system influenced by the Danish model
Legislative branchunicameral Althingi (parliament) (63 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 27 April 2013 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - SDA 30.16%, IP 25.4%, LGM 17.46%, PP 14.29%, Bright Future 3.18%, Dawn 3.18%, Rainbow 3.18%, Pirate Party 1.59%, Solidarity 1.59%; seats by party - SDA 19, IP 16, LGM 11, PP 9, Bright Future 2, Dawn 2, Rainbow 2, Pirate Party 1, Solidarity 1
International organization participationArctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, EU (candidate country), FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National holidayIndependence Day, 17 June (1944)
Political parties and leadersBright Future (Bjort Framtid) or BF (Gudmundur STEINGRIMSSON)
Dawn (Dogun) (Benedikt SIGURDARSON)
Independence Party (Sjalfstaedisflokkurinn) or IP (Bjarni BENEDIKTSSON)
Left-Green Movement (Vinstrihreyfingin) or LGM (Katrin JAKOBSDOTTIR)
Pirate Party (Birgitta JONSDOTTIR)
Progressive Party (Framsoknarflokkurinn) or PP (Sigmundur David GUNNLAUGSSON)
Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) or SDA (Arni Pall ARNASON)
Solidarity (Samstada) (Lilja MOSESDOTTIR)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typeconstitutional republic
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Gudmundur A. STEFANSSON (since 12 October 2011)
chancery: House of Sweden, 2900 K Street NW #509, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: (1) (202) 265-6653
FAX: (1) (202) 265-6656
consulate(s) general: New York
National anthemname: "Lofsongur" (Song of Praise)
lyrics/music: Matthias JOCHUMSSON/Sveinbjorn SVEINBJORNSSON
note: adopted 1944; the anthem, also known as "O, Gud vors lands" (O, God of Our Land), was originally written and performed in 1874
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)gyrfalcon
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Paul O'Friel (since 24 November 2013)
embassy: Laufasvegur 21, 101 Reykjavik
mailing address: US Department of State, 5640 Reykjavik Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-5640
telephone: (354) 595-22 00
FAX: (354) 562-9118