Iceland 1996

Yearbook 1996

Iceland. The year was marked politically by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir leaving her post as I president after 16 years. After an election campaign characterized by an unusual throw for Iceland unusual, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was elected as her successor, with 40.9% of the vote. Grímsson, a career politician with two party exchanges and an unpopular period as finance minister in the baggage, won over Pétur Hafstein, a judge in the Supreme Court, and Gudrun Agnarsdóttir, also her lawyer. Traditionally, Iceland’s president does not have much power, something Grímsson said he wanted to change.

In 1996, the Iceland economy remained at a level that would have guaranteed the country access to economic and monetary union EMU had it been an EU member. A low inflation of just over 2%, an unemployment rate which by 4.5% was lower than that of the Nordic neighbors, strong growth and a balanced trade, gave Iceland a good year. This year too, the fishing industry was the hub of the economy. Of the 2 million tonnes caught, 97% went on exports (almost 80% of goods exports).

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does IS stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Iceland. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.

In June 2004, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson was re-elected as President. In September, Oddsson handed over the Prime Minister’s post to Foreign Minister Halldor Asgrimsson.

In 2005, Iceland was number two on the UNDP human development scale and number three on the gender equality scale – surpassed only by Norway and Australia. Thirty years after a historic strike in 1975 paralyzed the country, in October 2005, the women returned to the streets demanding equal pay. In 1975, 25,000 women walked the streets. In 2005, the number was 50,000 in Reykjavik and 10,000 in other cities.

In June 2006, Prime Minister Ásgrímsson resigned after his party’s poor performance in the municipal elections. He was followed by Geir Hilmar Haarde from the Independence Party. Harden’s party got 25 of the 63 seats in parliament in the parliamentary elections in May 2007. But the coalition party, the Progress Party, lost 5 seats in the election. Haarde was therefore forced to enter into agreements with the Social Democratic Alliance to secure his government’s majority.

The US closed its air base in Keflavik in September 2006. It reflected partly that the North Atlantic does not have the same significance for the United States as before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and partly that the military’s superpower resources are unlimited and are now concentrated on its wars in Asia and the containment of China.

Economy and business

Despite all economic crises, since independence in 1944, Iceland has experienced a large-scale economic expansion. Business, fishing, fishing and agriculture have been subject to extensive development, heavy ceilings have been taken for electrification, communications have improved significantly, social standards and, not least, housing construction have been raised to a very high level, and living standards have been among all the highest in the world.

However, an urgent need to create greater stability in Iceland’s economic life has continued to prevail. First and foremost, they wanted to counteract the dominant dependence on fishery products. Large projects have therefore been initiated to utilize Iceland’s hydropower and thermal power resources for a significant industry, and tourism has also been invested heavily – with significant results. For the first time after the turn of the century, the tourist flow had an annual growth of 10 percent. The policy in this area has been to combine development and facilitation of tourism activities with the protection of nature, which is the main attraction.

In 2003, the Vatnajokulen was designated as Europe’s largest national park; The protection plan covers a quarter of the country’s total area. Against the background of the strong economic growth of the 1990s and the rapidly growing pension fund, the financial industry appears to be the third main pillar of Iceland’s business sector. By the end of the 2000s, Kaupthing Bank was ranked as the world’s fastest growing bank, and Icelandic companies made significant acquisitions abroad, especially in European retail and aviation.

From 2002, Iceland is again a member of the International Whaling Commission IWC, ten years after the country opted out in protest against the fishing ban. The new membership was disputed in the commission, and Iceland agreed to wait until 2006 to resume commercial capture. However, the government gave green light to research capture, despite broad opposition in the IWC. Following increasing pressure also from the domestic tourism industry, significant reductions in this catch were adopted in 2004.

Party political matters

The Conservative Independence Party was the largest party from independence until 2009, but has never achieved a capable majority. The major economic problems have led to a strong need for coalitions, the other center of gravity being the Progress Party, which in Iceland is a central party.

The election in Allting in 1995 gave weakened support for the government parties. However, Oddsson continued in a new center / right-wing government with the Independence Party and the Progress Party. The government continued after the 1999 elections, when the Independence Party advanced further, and – this time as far as the boat was carrying – renewed its mandate in 2003. In accordance with an agreement, Oddsson swapped the seat with Foreign Minister Halldór Ásgrimsson from the Progress Party in the fall of 2004. Oddsson had then sat as head of government for 13 years, longer than any of his European counterparts at this time – a sign that Icelandic politics has been characterized by greater stability since the 1990s than before.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was elected president in 1980 and set for 1996, when she did not run for re-election. The Icelandic president has primarily ceremonial functions, but as the first elected female head of state in the world, she gained great importance, including for Iceland’s international position. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was elected new president in 1996 and re-elected, without counter-candidates, in both 2000 and 2004.

Halldór Ásgrimsson resigned as prime minister in the summer of 2006, in the wake of a municipal election in which the party he led, the city-centered Progress Party, was cut in half on a national basis. The leader of the coalition partner Independence Party, Foreign Minister Geir Haarde, took over. At the general election in May 2007, the turbulence-affected Progress Party achieved its weakest result at the time and stepped out of the government. Instead, the second largest party, the Social Democratic Samfylkingen, came in, and Haarde continued as prime minister for a blue-red coalition government, which had 43 of Allting’s 63 seats in the back, eight more than its predecessor. The Left had the greatest progress. One of the main themes in the election campaign was the strong industrial and power development in eastern Iceland, where among other things the left and the environmental movement demanded a slower pace of development.

Population 1996

According to, the population of Iceland in 1996 was 267,518, ranking number 177 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.970% yearly, and the population density was 2.6696 people per km2.

Iceland Population Distribution by Age