The prime minister is Katrín Jakobsdóttir. The prime minister and cabinet exercise most executive functions while the president has very limited powers.
There are two levels of government in Iceland, the state and municipalities. Every four years, local residents elect their representatives to the local government to oversee the implementation of local democracy. The local governments are the government closest to the public and they are responsible for local services to the inhabitants of the municipalities. The municipalities all have the same status and legal obligations, regardless of the number of inhabitants.
The municipalities are responsible for implementation and are responsible for many key aspects of the welfare service, such as kindergartens, primary schools and social services. They are also responsible for the technical infrastructure in each municipality, such as drinking water, house heating and waste treatment. Finally, they are the planning and building authorities and carry out health inspections.
The country is divided into 74 municipalities, each with its own local government. Municipalities have rights and obligations towards their residents and the state. An individual is considered a resident of the municipality where his or her domicile is. Municipalities offer a variety of services and it is therefore necessary to register with the relevant local municipality office when moving to a new area.
Foreign nationals, 18 years of age and older, are given the right to vote in local government elections after having been domiciled in Iceland for five consecutive years. Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish citizens aged 18 and over, who have been domiciled here for three consecutive years, acquire the right to vote.
The President of Iceland is the country’s head of state and the only representative chosen by the entire electorate in a direct election. The office of President was established in the Constitution of the Republic of Iceland which took effect on 17 June 17 1944.
The current president is Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.
The president is elected to a four-year term by popular vote, is not term-limited, and has limited powers. The presidential residence is situated in Bessastaðir in Garðabær, near the capital city Reykjavík.
Iceland is governed by rule of law; the judiciary is autonomous, and the courts are to judge solely on the basis of law, and are not subject to any authority of the executive branch. Those who hold executive power are without exception to comply with the law, and they are bound by the law.