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Bjarni Benediktsson
Bjarni Benediktsson - 2023 (cropped).jpg
Bjarni Benediktsson in 2023
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
14 October 2023
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Preceded by Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir
Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs
In office
30 November 2017 – 14 October 2023
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Preceded by Benedikt Jóhannesson
Succeeded by Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir
In office
23 May 2013 – 11 January 2017
Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson
Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson
Preceded by Katrín Júlíusdóttir
Succeeded by Benedikt Jóhannesson
27th Prime Minister of Iceland
In office
11 January 2017 – 30 November 2017
President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson
Preceded by Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson
Succeeded by Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Leader of the Independence Party
Assumed office
29 March 2009
Preceded by Geir Haarde
Personal details
Born (1970-01-26) 26 January 1970 (age 54)
Reykjavík, Iceland
Political party Independence Party
Spouse Þóra Margrét Baldvinsdóttir
Children 4
Alma mater University of Iceland
University of Miami
Nickname Bjarni Ben

Bjarni Benediktsson (born 26 January 1970), known colloquially as Bjarni Ben, is an Icelandic politician, who served as prime minister of Iceland from January to November 2017. He has been the leader of the Icelandic Independence Party since 2009, and served as Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs from 2013 to 2017, a post he later retained under Katrín Jakobsdóttir and held until his resignation in October 2023. He is the current Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Bjarni is popularly referred to as a "teflon" politician due to managing to retain his position as one of Iceland's most powerful politicians despite his frequent involvement in political scandals.

Early life and education

Bjarni was born in Reykjavík. His great uncle was the former prime minister of Iceland of the same name, Bjarni Benediktsson.

After obtaining a law degree at the University of Iceland, Bjarni went on to learn German and law at the Goethe-Institut and University of Freiburg respectively in Germany from 1995 to 1996. In the following year he would attend the University of Miami in the United States, where he earned a LL.M. degree. He then returned to Iceland, working as an attorney.

Political career

Bjarni Benediktsson vid Nordiska Radets session i Stockholm
Bjarni Benediktsson in 2009

Bjarni entered the national parliament in 2003 and has been active in several committees in the areas of economy and taxation, industry and foreign affairs.

Bjarni was elected leader of the conservative Independence Party at its national convention on 29 March 2009 with 58.1 percent of the vote, about a month before the April 2009 Icelandic legislative elections. The party came in second in the elections with 16 seats, nine fewer than in the previous elections. After conceding defeat on 26 April 2009, Bjarni said his party had lost the trust of voters. "We lost this time but we will win again later," he said.

In the 2013 Althing elections on 28 April the Independence Party and their ally the Progressive Party each won 19 seats. On 17 May 2013 Icelandic media reported that Bjarni would take up the position of Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs in a cabinet led by Progressive Party leader Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. In the 2016 Althing elections, the Independence Party won 21 seats, while the Progressive party only won 8. Shortly after the results, Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson resigned from his post. A new coalition between the Independence Party, the Reform Party and Bright Future was formed in January 2017 with Bjarni designated to become Prime Minister.

Prime Minister (2017)

Bjarni became Prime Minister of Iceland on 11 January 2017. In September 2017, the future of the Icelandic government and Bjarni's tenure as prime minister was put in doubt when the Bright Future party withdrew from the governing coalition. .....

The Minister of Justice, Sigríður Andersen, had informed Bjarni about his father's involvement in the letter of recommendation in July, and refused to disclose the recommendation's author until compelled to by a parliamentary committee.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs (2017–2023, second term)

After the 2017 parliamentary elections, Katrín Jakobsdóttir became prime minister, and in a coalition agreement, Bjarni became the finance minister again. Bjarni resigned on 10 October 2023, following the release of a report by the Ombudsman of Althing which heavily condemned his conduct relating to the sale of state-owned shares in the bank Íslandsbanki.

Minister of Foreign Affairs (2023–present)

Only a few days after his resignation as minister of finance and economic affairs, Benediktsson was appointed minister of foreign affairs. His predecessor in the position, Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, was appointed his successor as finance minister.

In a meeting of Nordic foreign ministers in Oslo, Norway in November 2023, he refused to condemn Israel's bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp on the Gaza Strip the preceding day, questioning whether it could be described as an "attack." Benediktsson stated: "It depends on what you define as an 'attack'".

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bjarni Benediktsson (1970) para niños

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