The political dynasties of Iceland

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. Photo AFP

There has been much media attention focused on Canada’s new PM Justin Trudeau in recent days, not least because he is the son of former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau.

Examples of ‘politician families’ in the world are not rare – one need only think of the USA’s Roosevelts, Kennedys and Bushes. But what about Iceland?

Despite the relatively short time that Iceland has had its own Prime Minister, the country has already had its very own father-son PM duo.

Hermann Jónasson was Prime Minister of Iceland first in 1934-42, and then again 1956-58. His son Steingrímur Hermannsson (the clue is in the name) was subsequently Prime Minister of Iceland 1983-87 and 1988-91.

Steingrímur Hermannsson’s son, Guðmundur Steingrímsson is also an MP and leader of the present Bright Future party.

PM father and son: Hermann Jónasson (left) and Steingrímur Hermannsson ...

PM father and son: Hermann Jónasson (left) and Steingrímur Hermannsson (right).

Perhaps due to the small size of its population, Iceland does a good line in political ‘dynasties’. One of the best examples is perhaps the political family tree of Iceland’s current Finance Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson.

The Minister’s great-uncle, also called Bjarni Benediktsson, was Prime Minister of Iceland 1964-70.

Bjarni senior’s father was an MP in the early 20th century and one of the most famous leaders in Iceland’s struggle for independence from Denmark.

Two of Bjarni senior’s children also went on to become leading figures in politics. His son Björn Bjarnason was Minister first for Education, then for Justice, in the 90s and early 2000s, while his daughter Valgerður Bjarnadóttir is currently an MP – on the opposite side of the left-right political divide to Bjarni Benediktsson junior!

Valgerður Bjarnadóttir MP, first cousin once removed of the current ...

Valgerður Bjarnadóttir MP, first cousin once removed of the current Finance Minister. Photo: GVA

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