1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1
7Althingi and the President of Iceland jointly exercise legislative power. The President and other governmental authorities referred to in this Constitution and elsewhere in the law exercise executive power. Judges exercise judicial power.
12Any person who is at least thirty-five years of age and fulfills the requirements necessary to vote in elections to Althingi, with the exception of the residency requirement, is eligible to be elected President.
14The President shall be elected by direct, secret ballot of those who are eligible to vote in elections to Althingi. A presidential candidate shall be proposed by not less than 1500 voters and not more than 3000. The candidate, if there is more than one, who receives the most votes is duly elected President. If there is only one candidate, he is duly elected without a vote.
15Further provision for the candidature and election of the President shall be made by law, and it may be provided that a specific number of proposers shall reside in each quarter of the country in proportion to the number of voters there.
17The President’s term of office begins on the 1st of August and ends on the 31st of July four years later. The election of President takes place in June or July of the year in which a term of office expires.
21If the Office of President of the Republic becomes vacant or if the President is unable to perform his duties due to a stay abroad, illness, or other reasons, the Prime Minister, the President of Althingi and the President of the Supreme Court shall exercise presidential authority. The President of Althingi shall preside at their meetings. In a divergence of opinion among them, the majority shall prevail.
24Disbursements from State funds to the President or those who exercise presidential authority shall be established by law. These disbursements to the President may not be reduced during his term of office.
26On assuming office, the President shall take an oath or pledge to uphold the Constitution. Two identical originals shall be executed of this oath or pledge. One shall be kept by Althingi and the other by the National Archives.
30The President may be removed from office before his term expires if approved by a majority in a plebiscite called pursuant to a resolution adopted by three-fourths of the Members of Althingi. This plebiscite shall be held within two months from the date of adoption by Althingi of the resolution. The President shall not perform his duties from the time the resolution is adopted by Althingi until the results of the plebiscite are known.
38Ministers are accountable for all executive acts. The accountability of the Ministers is established by law. Althingi may impeach Ministers on account of their official acts. The Court of Impeachment has competence in such cases.
45Ministerial meetings shall be held in order to discuss new legislative proposals and important State matters. Furthermore, ministerial meetings shall be held if a Minister wishes to raise a matter there. The meetings shall be presided over by the Minister called upon by the President of the Republic to do so, who is designated Prime Minister.
54The President may transfer officials from one office to another provided that their official remuneration is not reduced, and that they have an option between such transfer and retirement with a pension, or old-age benefits, as prescribed by law.
57The President of the Republic concludes treaties with other States. Unless approved by Althingi, he may not make such treaties if they entail renouncement of, or servitude on, territory or territorial waters, or if they require changes in the State system.
61The President of the Republic may adjourn sessions of Althingi for a limited period of time, but not exceeding two weeks nor more than once a year. Althingi may, however, authorize the President to deviate from this provision.
62If sessions of Althingi have been adjourned, the President of the Republic may nevertheless convene Althingi as deemed necessary. Moreover, the President is obliged to do so upon the request of a majority of the Members of Althingi.
64The President of the Republic may dissolve Althingi. A new election must take place within 45 days from the announcement of the dissolution. Althingi shall convene not later than ten weeks after its dissolution. Members of Althingi shall retain their mandate until Election Day.
68If Althingi has passed a bill, it shall be submitted to the President of the Republic for confirmation not later than two weeks after it has been passed. Such confirmation gives it the force of law. If the President rejects a bill, it shall nevertheless become valid but shall, as soon as circumstances permit, be submitted to a vote by secret ballot of all those eligible to vote, for approval or rejection. The law shall become void if rejected, but otherwise retains its force.
72In case of urgency, the President may issue provisional laws when Althingi is not in session. Such laws must not, however, be contrary to the Constitution. They shall always be submitted to Althingi as soon as it convenes.
76The President may decide that the prosecution for an offense be discontinued if there are strong reasons therefor. The President grants pardon and amnesty. However, he may not absolve a Minister from prosecution or from a punishment imposed by the Court of Impeachment, unless approved by Althingi.
82Electoral districts shall be no fewer than six and no more than seven in number. Their boundaries shall be defined by law; however, the National Election Board may define the boundaries of the electoral districts in Reykjavik and its vicinity.
83For each respective electoral district, six seats shall be allocated in accordance with the outcome of elections within that district. The number of parliamentary seats for each electoral district shall in other respects be defined by law, subject however to the provisions of the fifth paragraph.
84Seats other than those allocated to the electoral districts shall be distributed within each respective electoral district with the purpose of providing individual political parties with representation reflecting to the fullest possible extent each party’s total number of votes. However, only political parties having received at least five per cent of all valid votes cast nation-wide shall be eligible for such distribution.
85If the number of voters on the voting register represented by each parliamentary seat, allocated or distributed, becomes in one electoral district one half of the number represented by each parliamentary seat in another electoral district, the National Election Board shall revise the number of seats representing each electoral district with the aim of reducing this difference. This shall be provided for in further detail by law.
90All persons who, on the date of an election, are 18 years of age or older and have Icelandic nationality have the right to vote in elections to Althingi. Permanent domicile in Iceland, on the date of an election, is also a requirement for voting, unless exceptions from this rule are stipulated in the law on elections to Althingi.
97Althingi shall convene for a regular session every year on the 1st of October or, if the day falls on an official holiday, on the following weekday, and continue in session until the same date the following year, unless the election period of Members of Althingi has elapsed earlier or Althingi has been dissolved.
106Althingi may appoint committees of its Members in order to investigate important matters of public interest. Althingi may grant authority to such committees to request reports, oral or written, from officials as well as from individuals.
108No tax may be imposed, altered or abolished except by law. Nor may loans, indebting the State, be taken or any real estate belonging to the State or the use thereof sold or in any other way disposed of, except by authority in law.
118Regular elections to Althingi shall take place not later than at the end of the electoral term. The beginning and end of the electoral term is on the same day of the week in a month, counting from the beginning of the month.
126No Member of Althingi may be subjected to custody on remand during a session of Althingi without the consent of Althingi, nor may a criminal action be brought against him unless he is caught in the act of committing a crime.
131Ministers are entitled to a seat in Althingi and, by virtue of their office, have the right to participate in its debates as often as they may desire, but they must observe the rules of procedure. They have the right to vote only if they are at the same time Members of Althingi.
143Meetings of Althingi shall be held in public. Nevertheless, the President of Althingi, or the quorum stipulated by the rules of procedure, may request that all those not Members of Althingi be excluded. The meeting shall then decide whether the matter shall be debated in a public or a closed session.
150Judges settle all disputes regarding the competence of the authorities. No one seeking a ruling thereon can, however, temporarily evades obeying an order from the authorities by submitting the matter for a judicial decision.
152In the performance of their official duties, judges shall be guided solely by the law. Those judges who do not also have administrative functions cannot be discharged from office except by a judicial decision, nor may they be transferred to another office against their will, except in the event of re-organization of the judiciary. However, a judge who has reached the age of 65 may be released from office, but Judges of the Supreme Court shall not lose any of their salary.
158All persons have the right to form religious associations and to practice their religion in conformity with their individual convictions. Nothing may however be preached or practised which is prejudicial to good morals or public order.
162A person who is not a member of any religious association shall pay to the University of Iceland the dues that he would have had to pay to such an association, if he had been a member. This may be amended by law.
168No one may be deprived of Icelandic citizenship. Loss of citizenship may, however, be provided for by law, in the event a person accepts citizenship in another State. An alien can only be granted Icelandic citizenship according to law.
169An Icelandic citizen cannot be barred from entering Iceland nor expelled there from. The rights of aliens to enter and reside in Iceland, and the reasons for which they may be expelled, shall be laid down by law.
175Any person arrested by reason of suspicion of criminal conduct shall be brought before a judge without undue delay. If he is not released at once, the judge shall, within 24 hours, issue a reasoned decision on whether he shall be detained on remand. Detention on remand may only be ordered due to a charge subject to heavier sanctions than fines or punitive custody. The right of a person detained on remand to refer the decision on his remand to a superior court shall be guaranteed by law. A person shall never be detained on remand for longer than necessary; if the judge deems that he may be released on bail the amount of bail shall be determined by a judicial order.
176Any person deprived of his liberty for other reasons shall be entitled to have the legality of the measure reviewed by a court as soon as possible. If his deprivation of liberty proves to have been unlawful he shall be released forthwith.
182No one may be subjected to punishment unless found guilty of conduct that constituted a criminal offence according to the law at the time when it was committed, or is totally analogous to such conduct. The sanctions may not be more severe than the law permitted at the time of commission.
185Everyone shall, for the determination of his rights and obligations or in the event of a criminal charge against him, be entitled, following a fair trial and within a reasonable time, to the resolution of an independent and impartial court of law. A hearing by a court of law shall take place in public, except if the judge decides otherwise as provided for by law in the interest of morals, public order, the security of the State or the interests of the parties.
189Bodily or personal search or a search of a person’s premises or possessions may only be conducted in accordance with a judicial decision or a statutory law provision. This shall also apply to the examination of documents and mail, communications by telephone and other means, and to any other comparable interference with a person’s right to privacy.
190Notwithstanding the provisions of the first paragraph above, freedom from interference with privacy, home and family life may be otherwise limited by statutory provisions if this is urgently necessary for the protection of the rights of others.
192The right of private ownership shall be inviolate. No one may be obliged to surrender his property unless required by public interests. Such a measure shall be provided for by law, and full compensation shall be paid.
196Everyone shall be free to express his thoughts, but shall also be liable to answer for them in court. The law may never provide for censorship or other similar limitations to freedom of expression.
197Freedom of expression may only be restricted by law in the interests of public order or the security of the State, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights or reputation of others, if such restrictions are deemed necessary and in agreement with democratic traditions.
199Associations may be formed without prior permission for any lawful purpose, including political associations and trade unions. An association may not be dissolved by administrative decision. The activities of an association found to be in furtherance of unlawful objectives may however be enjoint, in which case legal action shall be brought without undue delay for a judgment dissolving the association.
200No one may be obliged to be a member of any association. Membership of an association may however be made obligatory by law if this is necessary in order to enable an association to discharge its functions in the public interest or on account of the rights of others.