Despite lack of activity on this blog, constitutional reform in Iceland moves forward. After the Supreme Court invalidated the outcome of the election, the government moved ahead to simply appoint the candidates that would have won a seat – in effect showing the courts the middle finger. And as a result the title of the blog is now
outdated updated as the assembly is now the Constitutional Council. Continue reading
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.