Member of the Icelandic parliament Althingi for Southwest Iceland since 2003, Bjarni Benediktsson has been leader of the Independence party since 2009.
Born in Reykjavík on 26 January 1970, Mr Benediktsson graduated from Reykjavik Junior College in 1989 and completed his law degree from the University of Iceland in 1995. He followed this up with a year of study in Germany in 1995-96, and then graduated with an LLM degree from the University of Miami School of Law in the US in 1997. After taking his bar exam in 1998 he practiced as District Court attorney and is a certified securities trader.
He and his wife, Þóra Margrét Baldvinsdóttir, have four children.
Before his election to the Icelandic parliament Althingi, Bjarni Benediktsson served as officer at the District Commissioner in Keflavík (1995), as legal counsel for the transport company Eimskip (1997-1999)and as attorney in the law firm Lex (1999-2003).
His parliamentary work includes chairing the Foreign Affairs Committee (2009-2013) and Judicial Affairs Committee (2003-2007) and serving as member of the Budget Committee (2003-2007), the Industrial Affairs Committee (2003-2004 and 2007), the former Special Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Affairs (2009-2010), the Welfare Committee (2004-2005) and Economic and Trade Affairs Committee (2007-2009). Mr Benediktsson was also a member of the Icelandic delegation to the Nordic Council (2009-2012), the Icelandic Delegation to the EFTA and EEA Parliamentary Committees (2005-2009, Vice-Chairman 2007-2009) and chaired the Icelandic Delegation to the WEU Assembly (2003-2005).