Mr Olafur Ragnar Grimsson was elected the fifth President of the Republic of Iceland on 29 June 1996 for a four-year term. He was re-elected for additional four-year terms in 2000 and 2004. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in Political Science and has been a professor at the University of Iceland where he studied the evolution of the Icelandic political system and helped to build up the Social Science Department of the university. Mr Grimsson was elected to Althingi (parliament) as a representative for Reykjavik in 1978 as a representative of the People's Alliance Party. He was re-elected in 1979, 1991, 1995 and served as an alternate in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990. He was the Minister of Finance in the Government of Mr Steingrimur Hermansson from 1988 to 1991 and was elected leader of the People's Alliance Party between 1987 and 1995. He has been a member of various public bodies, including the Economic Council (1966-1968), the Icelandic Broadcasting Service (1971-1975) and the Icelandic Social Sciences Commission (1979-1990). Mr Grimsson was also chairman and later president of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Global Action, an association of 1800 parliamentarians from about 80 countries and he accepted the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize on behalf of the association in 1987.
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