The 1,000 invitees—members of the public who were chosen at random—are now gearing up for the National Gathering at Laugardalshöll in Reykjavík on Saturday, where changes to the country’s constitution will be discussed.
From the 2009 National Gathering. Photos by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.
“They asked me to come. If everyone would have said no, then what? Someone has to do the dirty work,” quipped Ingibjörn Tönsberg to Fréttabladid, yet admitting that the Constitution of Iceland is a subject she has always taken an interest in.
At 89, she will be the oldest attendee of the National Gathering. Steinunn Hlíf Gudmundsdóttir, on the other hand, who turns 18 late this month—only a few days before the election to the Constitutional Assembly takes place—will be the gathering’s youngest attendee. “It will be a good experience,” she said.
Tönsberg and Gudmundsdóttir said they haven’t formed any specific opinions on what can be improved in the constitution, yet Tönsberg stressed that independence is the most important issue.
Even though there are 71 years between them, the two women agree on the basic values in society; the goal should simply be that everyone can lead a good life.
According to a press release, an almost equal number of men and women will be in attendance and their representation is more or less consistent with the nation’s age and area of residence distribution.
By coincidence, a few couples were invited and a new mother has also announced her attendance, although she must take a break every now and then to breastfeed her baby.
The conclusions of the National Gathering will be reported the following day. Then they will be submitted to the upcoming Constitutional Assembly, which will convene in February to draft a new constitution for Iceland. The assembly’s members will be elected on November 27.
Click here to read more about the Constitutional Assembly.