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Institutions

Alþingi

Alþingi is the national parliament of Iceland. It is the oldest surviving parliament in the world, founded in 930 at Þingvellir approximately 45 kilometres from Reykjavík. N 1844 it was moved to Reykjavík and has been there since.

 

The Icelandic constitution clearly demonstrates that Icelandic government is democratic. Althingi is the cornerstone of this democracy. Every fourth year, the electors choose, by secret ballot, 63 representatives to sit in parliament. These members of parliament jointly hold legislative powers, and also fiscal powers, i.e. the power to make decisions on public spending and taxation.

 

It is important that the populace know what decisions are made in parliament, and how they are made, as the electorate and their representatives are responsible for maintaining democracy in action. Decisions made in parliament have an impact upon the daily lives of all Icelanders.

Logo of the Icelandic parliament

Ministries

Ministries, headed by ministers,  are responsible for the implementation of the legislative power. The ministry is the highest level of administration and under the direction of the minister forms the executive branch. The scope of work, names and even the existence of ministries may change according to the government’s policy.

 

List of ministries in Iceland can be found here.

Police

The role of the police is to protect the public, prevent violence and crime and investigate and solve cases of criminal offences. The public is obliged to obey instructions issued by the police. Failure to do so may result in a fine or imprisonment.

 

The police enjoys a high level of trust from Icelandic society, and everybody may safely approach the police if they believe that they have been the victim of an offence or violence.

 

If you need assistance from the police, call 112.

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