Jóhannsson, Sigurður Ingi (Iceland)

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Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson became prime minister in April 2016 following the resignation of Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.

Early Life

Born on 20 April 1962 in Selfoss, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson grew up on his family’s farm. He studied veterinary medicine at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and, after graduating, ran a farming and veterinary business. He joined the Progressive Party in 2001 and was elected to parliament in 2009. In the same year, he became deputy chairman of the Progressive Party’s parliamentary group.

From 2009–10 he served on the parliamentary review committee on the Special Investigation Commission report into the country’s banking collapse. He also sat on the fisheries and agriculture committee from 2009–11, and from 2009–13 was a member of the Icelandic delegation to the West Nordic council. Between 2011 and 2013 he served on the industrial affairs committee and as deputy speaker of parliament. Following the 2013 general election, when the Progressive Party entered a governing coalition with the Independence Party, Jóhannsson was appointed minister of fisheries and agriculture; from 2013–14 he also served as minister for the environment and natural resources.

The coalition government claimed success in negotiating a deal with the creditors of Iceland’s failed banks and in taking steps to restore public trust in the banking system. However, in April 2016 the naming of Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson in reports of secret offshore investments triggered mass public demonstrations. Gunnlaugsson stepped down as prime minister, appointing Jóhannsson as his successor. Amid some initial confusion over the permanence of Gunnlaugsson’s resignation, Jóhannsson was sworn in as prime minister on 7 April 2016.

Career Peak

Jóhannsson came to office promising to hold early general elections. Meanwhile he signalled that he would continue with the government’s plans for a controlled exit from currency controls in a bid to restore Iceland’s economic stability.

Jóhannsson resigned as prime minister on 30 Oct. 2016 following parliamentary elections held the previous day and left office in Jan. 2017 to be succeeded by Bjarni Benediktsson.

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