Professor says constitutional bills likely to pass
There are loud calls throughout society for the recommendations of the constitutional council from 2012 to be made into the basis of a new constitution for Iceland (hear an interview about it here), and Píratar (the Pirates), Samfylkingin (the Social Democrats), Flokkur fólksins (the People’s Party), and two independent MPs have put a bill to Alþingi for the fourth time calling for this. It is considered unlikely such a bill will pass before the next election, however.
Katrín Jakobsdóttir has decided to put forth four separate bills on constitutional change over the coming month, however, and she is doing so as an MP rather than a minister, after complicated discussions to try and reach consensus among all party leaders.
“I have mostly heard criticism from opposition MPs that they don’t go far enough, for example when it comes to the natural resources clause,” says Ólafur Þ. Harðarson, University of Iceland political sciences professor. “But then those Members will be faced with the decision of approving Katrín’s natural resources provision or continue to have no resources provision in the constitution. And I think the chances are now more than less that these bills will pass.”
What does it mean that the PM is putting them to Alþingi as an MP? Is it a sign that talks with other party leaders failed?
"I’m not sure it’s possible to draw any conclusions, but it is clear that there is no perfect unity among the leaders on this. That she has done it this way gives parliamentarians free reign.”
To unite around it or against it along party lines?
“Party pressure actually reduces if it is not a government matter,” Ólafur says.
Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s bills do not go as far as the recommendations of the 2012 constitutional council. There is too much political opposition for that to pass at the moment. Katrín says she is trying to find a middle way that will lead to constitutional change, "which the nation deserves".