An MP for the Pirate Party believes the law is unclear on the extent of the parliamentary president’s powers, and that the matter should be decided in court.
As reported, MP Jón Þór Ólafsson recently decided to stop addressing members of parliament with the title “Honourable” (“Hæstvirtur” for ministers, and “háttvirtan” for regular MPs), on the grounds that “we should not automatically give ourselves the ‘Honourable’ title when the nation doesn’t think we’ve earned it.”
However, he has not exactly gotten away with this, as parliamentary president Einar K. Guðfinnsson will frequently ring the parliamentary bell when Jón Þór addresses one of his colleagues without prefixing “Honourable” to their name, as per parliamentary tradition.
Vísir reports that Jón Þór is less than happy with this practice, and is considering taking legal action. The Supreme Court, he said, could for example decide once and for all what the limits of parliamentary presidential power are, especially as it relates to parliamentary procedure.
The role of the parliamentary president – a position often, although not always, given to a ruling coalition member – includes enforcing the rules of parliamentary decorum and to remind MPs when they have spoken past their time limit, among other duties. The bell is often used, in much the same way that a referee might use a whistle.