Geir Hallgrímsson

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Geir Hallgrímsson
Prime Minister of Iceland
In office
28 August 1974 – 1 September 1978
President Kristján Eldjárn
Preceded by Ólafur Jóhannesson
Succeeded by Ólafur Jóhannesson
Personal details
Born (1925-12-16)16 December 1925
Died 1 September 1990(1990-09-01) (aged 64)
Nationality Iceland
Political party Independence Party
This is an Icelandic name. The last name is a patronymic, not a family name; this person is properly referred to by the given name Geir.

Geir Hallgrímsson (16 December 1925 – 1 September 1990) was the 16th Prime Minister of Iceland for the Independence Party from 28 August 1974 to 1 September 1978. Geir was mayor of Reykjavík from 1959 to 1972. During his term as mayor he greatly expanded the city and improved the inner structure. Under his guidance the geothermal heating system was expanded to the whole city, when previously it had only been available to a minority of the city. He also improved the streets by turning the mostly gravel roads into modern asphalt streets. He was popular as mayor and in an open primary for the municipal elections he won 99% of the votes in 1970.

In the fall of 1970 he came in number one in the primary for elections to Althing, ahead of prime minister Jóhann Hafstein and former mayor Gunnar Thoroddsen. He was a member of parliament from 1970 (took his permanent seat with the death of prime minister Bjarni Benediktsson) until 1983. In 1971 he was elected vice chairman of the Independence Party and in 1973 he became chairman after Jóhann Hafstein resigned for health reasons. In 1974 he led the Independence Party to one of its greatest victories. The party won 42.5% of the vote and 25 out of 60 parliamentary seats. He then led a coalition government with the Progressive party from 1974 to 1978.

His government expanded the fishing limits to 200 miles (370 km) and had to fight Britain in the 'Cod War'. After Iceland had broken diplomatic relations with Britain in 1976 over the dispute, negotiations led to an agreement in June that year. According to the agreement Britain accepted the 200 mile (370 km) zone.

In 1978 the government suffered a setback after it had set a law that limited wage increases. The law was an attempt to curb inflation which was running close to 50%. The two government parties lost five parliamentary seats each and a new coalition government was formed without the Independence party. A year later the Independence party failed to make significant gains in an election after the government had resigned. Hallgrímsson also faced opposition within his own party and came in number two in primary elections in 1978. Albert Gudmundssson won the first seat. A year later Hallgrímsson won the first seat back. He twice won elections against his opponents for the chairmanship. In 1979 and 1981 he got about 75%, first against Albert Gudmundsson and then his opponent was Pálmi Jónsson, then minister of agriculture.

In 1980 the vice chairman of the Independence Party, Gunnar Thoroddsen, decided to break ranks within the party and lead a group of four members of the Independence party to form a government with the People's Alliance (Socialist party) and the Progressive party. Hallgrímsson was leader of the opposition. The Independence party was united in the election to Parliament in 1983. However Hallgrímsson suffered a setback when he came in seventh in the primary for the parliamentary elections. He lost his seat in Parliament in the elections in 1983. However, he served as foreign minister in a coalition government with the Progressive party from 1983 until 1986.

After the elections he announced that he would not seek re-election as party chairman. He left government in 1986 when he became one of the three Governors of the Central Bank of Iceland, a position he held till his death in September 1990. He was a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.[1]


  1. ^ "Former Steering Committee Members". Bilderberg Group. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
Preceded by
Jóhann Hafstein
Chairman of the Independence Party
Succeeded by
Þorsteinn Pálsson
Preceded by
Ólafur Jóhannesson
Prime Minister of Iceland
Succeeded by
Ólafur Jóhannesson