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How is Iceland governed?

Iceland is a constitutional republic with a multi-party system. The head of state is the President. Executive power is exercised by the Government.  Iceland is arguably the world's oldest parliamentary democracy, with the Parliament, the Althingi, established in 930. Legislative power is vested in both the Parliament and the President. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Every fourth year the electorate chooses, by secret ballot, 63 representatives to sit in Althingi.  Anyone who is eligible to vote, with the exception of the President and judges of the Supreme Court, can stand for parliament. Following each election, the President gives a leader of a political party the authority to form a cabinet, usually beginning with the leader of the largest party. If unsuccessful; the President will ask another political party leader to form a government.

A cabinet of ministers stays in power until the next general election or a new government is formed. The ministers sit in Althingi, but only those elected have the right to vote in parliament.

The president is elected by direct popular vote for a term of four years, with no term limit.

Judicial power lies with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the district courts.

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