The power of political parties has become, perhaps increasingly, a common complaint of observers and participants in Icelandic politics and many of the proposed reforms of the political system have focused on reducing the power of political parties. For example, by introducing an element of a `personal vote’ into the electoral system (usually by adopting an open list proportional representation system) and measures to strengthen parliament vis-à-vis the executive. Continue reading
I have to admit that I didn’t follow the debate about the bill on the Constitutional Assembly to closely but I have to say that I’m a bit surprised that the method of electing the assembly didn’t generate a more heated debate. The members of the Constitutional Assembly were elected using a single national district. One of the bigger issues, e.g., singled out by the previous government, was a reform of the electoral system. Given that the current electoral system is characterized by a high degree of malapportionment (unequal representation per capita in geographic terms), is it surprising that the elected members tend to favor a single national district for the election of Althingi and the equal weight of votes regardless of geographic location? Continue reading
Turnout in the elections to the Constitutional Assembly was 36.77%. In contrast, the average turnout in parliamentary elections is about 87% and 81% in local elections. In this context, turnout in the election may seem almost shockingly low. However, comparing regular parliamentary and local elections with the elections to the constitutional assembly is also a bit absurd. Frankly, all things considered, I think 36.77% turnout is pretty good.
I guess it is time for the first reading assignment for the newly elected Constitutional Assembly. A couple of interesting (potentially) reads I stumbled upon today.
First, Roger Congleton just published Perfecting Parliament: Constitutional Reform, Liberalism, and the Rise of Western Democracy. Continue reading
In my previous post I listed aspects of the constitution that the Constitutional Assembly is charged with reviewing. In short, it touches on every major political institutions and, as a consequence, the Icelandic political system could end up looking significantly different from what it looks like today. That is very exciting. What is less exciting is that the Constitutional Assembly gets mere two months two come up with proposals for amendment – although it can be extended for another two months. Continue reading