The office of the President of Iceland will be given more weight in a constitutional bill proposed by the Icelandic Constitutional Council (Icelandic: Stjórnlagaráð); the president’s right to appeal will remain intact and he will be able to directly influence official nominations of public officials.
President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Photo by Páll Kjartansson
Potential alleviations of the presidential office were discussed but were written out in the finalized version of the constitutional bill. The president’s right to appeal matters relate to legislative- and executive powers involving national budget, appendices to the national budget, citizenship law, and commitment of state properties.
State properties are national resources and in the new constitutional bill it is said:
“Resources found in Icelandic nature that are not private property belong to the nation for all time. No one can be given or earn the right to temporary or permanent use of such resources. Resources cannot be leased or sold.”
For a national referendum to be held, a minimum of ten percent of the nation must agree to it, except in the matters detailed above.
“The president continues to be the head of the state; his right to influence national governance is clear and his right to refer national governmental affairs to the nation in a referendum is unchanged,” council member Katrín Fjelsted told ruv.is.
In the current constitution the president’s right to influence appointments of public office is merely formal but in the new bill he will have the power to reject the appointed official, Fjeldsted told ruv.is.
Should he reject the appointment, two thirds of the parliament must approve the nomination for it to be valid.
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