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Alþingi Opens: Ólafur Hints at Closure

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Alþingi Opens: Ólafur Hints at Closure

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

Photo: Wikipedia.

Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, formally reconvened this morning for the autumn session. This is its 145th legislative session.

Following a service in Dómkirkja church, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson addressed members of Alþingi in the parliamentary building. According to RÚV, Ólafur, who has served as president since 1996, strongly suggested in his speech that he would not be running for president again:

“As I, according to the mandate the nation gave me, open Alþingi for the last time, I offer parliament my deep respect and sincere thanks, remember the many with whom I have worked, especially those who shared their experience with me, as a matter of fact all who accompanied me at parliamentary meetings and on committee work.”

Ólafur has said he will formally announce his intention of running or not in accordance with tradition. It has been his custom to make such an announcement on New Year’s Day.

In his speech, Vísir reports, Ólafur warned against holding elections on changes to the constitution at the same time as presidential ones. Should the constitution be changed, Ólafur believes that work must be done thoroughly and with adequate preparation, including national discussion regarding the matter. Electing president without knowing how such changes might affect presidential powers, would, in his opinion, be ill advised.

This parliamentary session is unusual for the fact that women now comprise 44.4 percent of members of parliament—the highest proportion ever, RÚV reports. They hold 28 of the 63 seats in Alþingi, compared with 35 men.

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