From Iceland — Support For New Constitution Continues To Rise Dramatically

Support For New Constitution Continues To Rise Dramatically

Published October 14, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
The Icelandic Constitution Society

The official petition calling for the adoption of the 2012 constitutional draft has, at the time of this writing, crossed 35,000 signatures, or nearly 10% of the entire population of Iceland—up from 27,000 only six days ago.

Meanwhile, a new poll from MMR shows that about 60% of those polled believe that adopting the new constitution during this parliamentary term, which ends next autumn, is important. This support has also been steadily increasing over the years.

In October 2019, 52% of those polled said they considered adopting the new constitution important; 26% believed it not important; and 21% were ambivalent. The results of the current poll, conducted from September 10th to September 23rd, show that 59% consider the adoption of the new constitution important; 25% consider it not important; and 17% are ambivalent.

Part of last week’s dramatic upswing in support can probably be likened to a mural (seen above), bearing the slogan “where is the new constitution?”, being pressure washed away last Monday. Stundin reports this was done under orders from government offices. Shortly thereafter, a similar mural on another nearby wall was painted again.

As reported, Icelanders voted for a new constitution in a national referendum held in 2012.

In that referendum, 66.3% of voters in the referendum said that they wanted a new constitution based on the draft that was drawn up by the Constitutional Council in 2011. That draft included such changes as having natural resources that are not privately owned to be declared national property; giving equal weight to votes cast in all parts of the country; a provision stating that a certain proportion of the electorate is able to demand that issues are put to a referendum; and more.

Despite the fact that this draft was submitted to Parliament in July 2011, and many of its provisions were approved of by the people in a democratic national referendum, the draft has yet to see the floor of Parliament.

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.

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