Constitutional Council

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Category: Constitution (page 2 of 2)

Those damn political parties!

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

Electing an outcome

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 Constitutional Assembly Election

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.
Continue reading

Required reading I

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

Why two (or four) months are not enough

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

Constitutions and Policy

The constitutional assembly is charged with the addressing eight aspects of the constitution (from the law on the Constitutional Assembly found here:

  1. The foundations of the Icelandic constitution and its fundamental concepts;
  2. The organisation of the legislative and executive branches and the limits of their powers
  3. The role and position of the President of the Republic; Continue reading

Why I won’t endorse my friends’ candidacies

First, why am I writing in English about the Icelandic Constitutional Assembly. It is simple, I don’t have an Icelandic keyboard and it is too much of a hassle to use shortcut keys, etc. I anticipate being lazy enough about blogging for it to be counterproductive to add another hurdle. If you don’t like it… well, no one is forcing you to read this.

At any rate, I figured the upcoming constitutional assembly was an occasion to start blogging – if only to give save my colleagues here from having to listen to my rants. And since I study political institutions for a living, Continue reading

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