Possible Agreement Reached On Draft Changes To Constitution - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Possible Agreement Reached On Draft Changes To Constitution

Published February 17, 2016

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TommyBee/Wikimedia Commons

Internal sources report big changes are in store for the draft on Iceland’s new constitution, which has been nearly six years in the works.

Sources close to RÚV report that cross-partisan agreement has been reached on three major details to a proposed draft of a new constitution.

Most significantly is that all parties agreed to include an article or clause in the constitution stipulating that a petition bearing signatures from at least 15% of the voting-age population – or about 45,000 people – would put any law passed by parliament up for national referendum.

Committee members also agreed on an article or clause stating that Iceland’s natural resources are owned by the public, and setting fees on the use of these resources is both right and legal. Lastly, the committee agreed that a clause or article should be in the new constitution which states that the maintenance and preservation of the Icelandic environment is the responsibility of everyone, and must be maintained sustainably.

As reported, the prospect of a new constitution received widespread public support and made international headlines in the wake of the 2009 protests, with the formation of a National Assembly that year tasked with receiving direct suggestions from the people on what kind of changes the country wanted to see.

This, in turn, led to the elections of a Constitutional Assembly in 2010. While these elections were ruled invalid by the Supreme Court in 2011 on the grounds of numerous election irregularities, the 25 people elected to the assembly were later appointed by then-Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.

While this would lead to the Constitutional Committee submitting a draft for a new constitution that summer, and a national referendum on the matter in 2012 voted in favour of these changes, the matter has still not been resolved.

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