News and Press Releases

Opening of Parliament, Thursday, 14 December 2017

11.12.2017

The opening of parliament starts at 13:30 on Thursday, 14 December with a church service in Reykjavík Cathedral. The president of Iceland, the bishop of Iceland, the speaker of the Althingi, ministers and members of parliament process from the Parliament House to the Cathedral. Rev. Arna Grétarsdóttir, vicar at Reynisvellir, delivers the sermon and Rev. Sveinn Valgeirsson, vicar at Reykjavík Cathedral, administers the sacrament with Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, the bishop of Iceland. Kári Þormar, the cathedral organist, plays the organ and the Cathedral Chamber Choir performs.

Following the church service, the president of Iceland, the bishop of Iceland, the speaker of the Althingi, ministers, members of parliament and other guests process back to the Parliament House.

Gudni Th. Jóhannesson, the president of Iceland, opens the 148th session of the Althingi after which the longest-serving member of parliament, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, will preside over the sitting, deliver a eulogy, and preside over the election of the parliamentary Credentials Committee.

The opening sitting of the session is adjourned until 16:00. When the sitting resumes the members of parliament draw lots to allocate seats. The 2018 Budget Bill is then distributed.

An overview of the main elements of the opening of parliament:

13:25 Members of parliament process to the Cathedral.

13:30 Church service at the Cathedral.

14:05 Members of parliament process from the Cathedral to the House of Parliament.

The president of Iceland opens parliament and delivers his address.

The longest-serving member of parliament presides over the sitting.

The longest-serving member of parliament delivers a eulogy for a former member of parliament.

The longest-serving member of parliament presides over the election of the parliamentary Credentials Committee.

14:40 Opening sitting is adjourned until 16:00.

Opening sitting continues at 16:00:

The parliamentary Credentials Committee verifies the election credentials of newly elected members of parliament and alternate members and confirms their lawful election. Each new member renders a pledge of loyalty to the constitution as soon as it has been attested that the member has been duly elected in accordance with Article 47 of the constitution.

The longest-serving member of parliament presides over the election of the speaker of the Althingi.

The speaker of the Althingi gives an address.

Election of six deputy speakers of the Althingi takes place.

Election of committee members (standing committees and international committees).

Announcements, distribution of the 2018 Budget Bill and the drawing of lots to allocate seats to members of parliament.

16:30 Sitting is adjourned.

The church service will be audio broadcast on the Althingi website and the opening sitting of the session will be video broadcast on the Althingi television channel and website. The National Broadcasting Company (RÚV) will broadcast the opening sitting of the session on television and RÚV Radio Channel 1 will broadcast the church service and the opening sitting of the session.

  • Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir delivers a policy speech on behalf of the government at 19:30 on Thursday, 14 December and a parliamentary debate on the speech will follow.
  • Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Bjarni Bendiktsson presents the 2018 Budget Bill on Friday, 15 December at 10:30.