This is a series of posts that records the cases of cohabitation in countries with semi-presidential constitutions. Cohabitation is defined as the situation where the president and prime minister are from different parties and where the president’s party is not represented in the cabinet. Presidents classed as non-party cannot generate any periods of cohabitation.
There is a difficulty in the case of Iceland. Prior to his election in 1996, President Grímsson had represented the People’s Alliance. However, this party merged with other parties in 1998 to form the Social Democratic Alliance. What is more, some members refused to join the Social Democratic Alliance and formed the Left-Green Movement instead. Given the People’s Alliance no longer exists, that we do not know whether President Grímsson should be associated with the Social Democratic Alliance or the Left-Green Movement, and that the president styles himself as an independent, then I do not record cohabitations after 1998.
Here is my list of cohabitations in Iceland:
Aug 1952 – Sep 1953
President – Ásgeir Ásgeirsson (AF, Social Democrats); PM – Steingrímur Steinthórsson (FSF, Progressive party); Coalition – FSF (Progressive party), SSF (Independence Party)
Sep 1953 – Jul 1956
President – Ásgeir Ásgeirsson (AF, Social Democrats); PM – Ólafur Thors (SSF, Independence Party); ; Coalition – FSF (Progressive party), SSF (Independence Party)
Aug 1996 – 1998
President – Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (AP, People’s Alliance/SFK, Social Democratic Alliance); PM – Davíd Oddsson (SSF, Independence Party); Coalition – FSF (Progressive party), SSF (Independence Party)
Generally, there have been a lot of non-party presidents in Iceland. Plus, the Icelandic president, by convention, wields little power.