It is considered likely that the next term, which will begin after the elections on April 25 and is supposed to last four years, will be cut short as well, since the majority in the Althingi parliament failed to carry through changes to the constitution.
Inside Iceland’s Althingi parliament. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
The proposed changes included a provision that would validate amendments to the constitution with a referendum instead of terminating parliament so that a new parliament could pass them, as is currently the case, Fréttabladid reports.
Iceland could not join the European Union, for example, unless the constitution is amended and the amendments have been approved by two parliaments, as stated by a committee on the development of EU matters in a press conference on Friday.
The Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) and the four largest unions within the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) have representatives in the committee along with the Social Democrats.
The Social Democrats, which, according to recent polls, is Iceland’s largest political party and is therefore likely to lead the next coalition government, have declared it a priority to launch membership discussions with the EU as soon as possible.
If a membership agreement is reached between Iceland and the EU after a few months and the nation approves that agreement by referendum, parliament would have to be dismissed and new parliamentary elections held in order to execute it.
A new parliament, in addition to the old one, would have to approve the changes to the constitution that would be necessary to fulfill the membership agreement with the EU, that is, surrendering state power.
However, if the government’s constitutional bill had been passed by the current parliament before the upcoming elections, the amendment to the constitution, which is necessary in order for Iceland to join the EU, could have been approved in the same referendum as the EU membership agreement.
Parliament was finally dissolved on Friday and the campaign has officially begun.