Iceland’s Constitutional Reform Referendum

Reading Politics · Iceland’s Constitutional Reform Referendum

Alan Renwick

Iceland held a referendum over the weekend on the reform of its constitution.  The results are now in and show strong public support for change.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that change will actually happen, as, under Iceland’s existing constitution, the referendum result is only advisory.  If constitutional reform is actually to take place, Iceland’s parliament will have to vote for it before the next election (due next spring) and then vote for it again after the election.  Still, there is much interesting material for us to chew over in the outcome of the popular vote.

 

First, the table below gives a quick overview of the result.

Yes (%) No (%)
1.  Do you wish the Constitution Council’s proposals to form the basis of a new draft Constitution? 66.3 33.7
2.  In the new Constitution, do you want natural resources that are not privately owned to be declared national property? 82.9 17.1
3.  Would you like to see provisions in the new Constitution on an established (national) church in Iceland? 57.1 42.9
4.  Would you like to see a provision in the new Constitution authorising the election of particular individuals to the Althingi more than is the case at present? 78.4 21.6
5.  Would you like to see a provision in the new Constitution giving equal weight to votes cast in all parts of the country? 66.5 33.5
6.  Would you like to see a provision in the new Constitution stating that a certain proportion of the electorate is able to demand that issues be put to a referendum? 73.3 26.7

Sources: Questions translations are from the government’s website on the referendum: http://www.thjodaratkvaedi.is/2012/en/referendum/the-ballot.html.  Voting figures are from the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service: http://www.ruv.is/frett/lokatolur-i-thjodaratkvaedagreidslu.

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