Benediktsson, Bjarni

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Bjarni Benediktsson (bĬyär´nē bĕnĕdĬkt´sōn), 1908–70, Icelandic statesman. A lawyer, he was a vocal advocate of Iceland's independence from Denmark, and became a member of the central committee of the Independence party in 1936. Elected mayor of Reykjavík in 1940, he held a number of important government and diplomatic posts after World War II: He was minister of foreign affairs and justice (1947–53), minister of justice and education (1953–56), and minister of justice (1959). The head of the Independence party from 1961, he served as prime minister from 1963 until 1970, when he was killed in a fire.