Parts of Iceland’s Constitutional Bill to be Changed Skip to content

Parts of Iceland’s Constitutional Bill to be Changed

The Icelandic parliament Alþingi’s Constitutional and Supervisory Committee discussed the Venice Commission’s draft opinion of the bill, submitted last week, at its meeting yesterday and decided to make some of the amendments proposed.

althingi-backyard_pkAlþingi, the Icelandic parliament. Photo: Páll Kjartansson/Iceland Review.

Valgerður Bjarnadóttir, who chairs the Constitutional and Supervisory Committee, told that not all changes recommended by the Venice Commission will be carried out.

The commission stated that the chapter on human rights had been too vague and that will be taken into consideration, she said, adding that other points obviously don’t apply to Iceland.

These include the commission’s criticism of the president’s right to refer bills to national referendums, which will remain unchanged, Valgerður stated.

At the committee’s meeting, remarks by those who had already made amendments to the bill’s technical legal issues were also reviewed.

The government’s Social-Democratic Alliance and the opposition’s Progressive Party and Independence Party are said to have launched formal negotiations on how the constitutional bill should be handled.

The opposition has criticized the government’s intention to finish reviewing the bill in the 14 days which remain of this term, suggesting they leave it until next term.

However, Valgerður maintains that there is time to carry out necessary changes if everyone is set on it.

Salvör Nordal who chaired the Constitutional Council, stated on RÚV’s Rás 2 radio program Morgunútvarpið last week that the Venice Commission’s criticism must be taken seriously.

She pointed out that the council itself had recommended a complete review of the bill. “It is of course very disappointing how long it has taken to have the bill reviewed.”

Salvör stated that given how little time is left of the term, it may be wise to change the bill in stages. “I have favored for some time that the project is split up in stages and that some be completed now and others continued later. But time is also running out for that.”

The most important thing in her view is that the constitutional bill enters an acceptable work process. “The worst thing that could happen was if the bill would be left unfinished and if people wouldn’t continue working on it after the election.”

Click here to read more about the Venice Commission’s opinion.


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