From Iceland — Pirates Call For Vote On New Constitution Ahead Of Elections

Pirates Call For Vote On New Constitution Ahead Of Elections

Published September 15, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The Pirate Party has just released a statement supporting the idea of new elections, but they contend a new constitution for Iceland needs to be voted on in Parliament first.

“The Pirate parliamentary party calls upon all parties in Parliament to answer this call, as the President of Iceland called for at the commencement of Parliament, and approve a new constitution before parliament is closed and elections are held, which needs to happen as soon as possible,” the statement reads in part.

The reference to President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson refers specifically to his commencement address at Parliament earlier this week. While not specifically mentioning a new constitution, Guðni did say in part of his speech that “No one will be pleased with an unchanged situation. No work will be done if work practices are unchanged.” Many have taken this to be a strong hint that the constitution needs to be changed; this was, in fact, one of the larger hopes of the Icelandic people after the 2008 financial collapse, but a draft for a new constitution would end up festering in committee.

Whether Parliament votes for a new constitution or not, new elections appear to be all but a foregone conclusion. Vísir reports that the Progressives are not willing to take the place of Bright Future as new coalition partners with the Independence Party, and all party chairs have expressed a willingness to go for new elections rather than attempt to form a new ruling coalition.

As reported, news broke last night that Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s father, Benedikt Sveinsson, had provided a recommendation letter of “restored honour”, a legal procedure which clears one’s civil standing, for Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson, a man convicted of having raped his stepdaughter almost daily for 12 years. Bjarni, despite having been informed of this by Minister of Justice Sigríður Andersen last July, kept this matter to himself, and Sigríður refused to release information to the press about who recommended Hjalti should receive restored honour. That is, until a parliamentary committee ruled that the Ministry had gone beyond the bounds of the law in concealing this information, and compelled the Ministry to release this information to the press.

In the wake of this, Bright Future announced late last night that they would be leaving the ruling coalition, effectively collapsing the government.

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