From Iceland — Constitutional Assembly May Be Reality After All

Constitutional Assembly May Be Reality After All

Published January 27, 2011

A professor of political science has put forward the idea that there be a constitutional assembly, albeit not one where representatives are voted directly onto it.
Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson, a professor of political science at the University of Iceland, discussed the constitutional assembly with news website Smugan. He pointed out that while many have criticised the government for the legal wording of the constitutional assembly law, the mistakes made were not legislative but rather in how the election was conducted. In fact, the complaints lodged with the Supreme Court against the assembly all focused on the election process itself.
“It is possible that the speed was too fast and the pressure too great to complete this project in a short amount of time,” he said in part. “This is unfortunate when we’re talking about an experimental project without any clear models.”
Gunnar Helgi agrees with the prime minister that there needs to be a constitutional assembly. To scrap the idea, he says, would undermine the confidence of the people in the democratic process. At the same time, holding elections again could not only prove costly but also see an even lower voter turn-out than the previous one, as the trust the people have in the concept of the assembly has been shaken.
Rather, Gunnar Helgi believes that a new law on the constitutional assembly should be drawn up, wherein those elected to parliament appoint representatives to form the assembly. This, he believes, is the simplest way to approach the matter, although this leaves the question of whether or not parliament could reach an agreement on such a law.
The Supreme Court decision to rule the constitutional assembly elections invalid has provoked surprise and outrage, with many believing the ruling was politically motivated. Some pundits have claimed that the Supreme Court judges themselves have close ties to the Independence Party, which voted against the assembly law, and assembly candidate Illugi Gunnarsson has publicly questioned who might have been behind the original complaints filed with the Supreme Court.
Response To Court Ruling On Constitutional Assembly Mixed
Constitutional Assembly Elections Ruled Invalid

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