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The President of Iceland

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 1944.

The fifth President of the Republic is Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. He was elected in 1996, assuming office on 1 August that year. He was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008 and in 2012.

The President is elected for a term of four years. Under the Constitution, the President delegates executive power to governmental authorities. The President and the Parliament exercise legislative power. When bills have been passed they are submitted to the President within two weeks to become effective as law. If the President refuses to approve the bill, it nevertheless takes effect, but must then be subjected to a general referendum as soon as possible and becomes invalid if it is rejected; otherwise, it remains in force.

In the absence of the President, presidential powers are exercised by the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Alþingi and the President of the Supreme Court.

The official residence of the President of Iceland is at Bessastaðir, near Reykjavík.