Most Icelanders Want A New Constitution - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Most Icelanders Want A New Constitution

Published September 29, 2017

Main photo by
Art Bicnick

Even though the prospect of a new constitution all but died in parliament years ago, a new poll from Market and Media Research shows that the majority of Icelanders still want to make this a reality.

According to the poll’s findings, in all 55% of Icelanders consider a new constitution being ratified during the next parliamentary term to be either very important or rather important. 23% do not consider it important, and 20% were ambivalent.

In terms of demographics, more women than men supported the idea, and it also has more support amongst Icelanders 50 and older than younger Icelanders. The more money an Icelander earns, the less likely they are to support a new constitution as well. But the most striking difference of all is political.

Voters for the Pirates, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens all overwhelmingly support a new constitution being ratified during the next parliamentary term, while voters for the Independence Party, the Progressives and the Reform Party are mostly against it.

Iceland’s original constitution is more or less borrowed from the Danes. In the wake of the 2008 economic collapse, a public outcry to change the very structure of Iceland’s socio-political system led to an initiative to write a new constitution. This led to the formation of a Constitutional Council. The council – comprised of 25 men and women from around Iceland, and appointed by then Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir for the task – got to work on writing a new constitution for Iceland.

While Icelanders voted in favour of a new constitution in a referendum taken in 2012, the draft ended up dying in committee shortly thereafter. However, if next month’s elections reflect current polling for the parties running for parliament, those parties supporting a new constitution appear poised to form Iceland’s next government.

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