A bill has been submitted to parliament which would give average citizens more power in influencing the laws which govern them.
The bill in question, led by Þór Saari and supported by every party except the conservatives, increases the ability to move bills to national referendums to be put before the people. Specifically, it states that this can happen two ways:
In the first instance, if a parliamentary proposal is submitted that a bill be put up for national referendum, this motion can pass by Yes votes of no less than one-third of parliament – which is at least 21 MPs.
In the second, and more significant instance, a bill can be put up for national referendum if 10% of the electorate petitions parliament to do so.
The bill is likely to have significant popular support. During last Saturday’s constitutional draft referendum, one of the six questions posed was “Would you like to see a provision in the new Constitution stating that a certain proportion of the electorate is able to demand that issues are put to a referendum?”. About 72% of Icelanders responded “Yes” to this question.
However, bills in Iceland are usually not passed instantaneously – procedure requires most bills to go to committee and then to the floor of parliament three times before a final vote is made.