A new social media campaign is calling on the government to make good on its commitment to revise the nation’s constitution, a process set in motion almost eight years ago. Fréttablaðið reports that the campaign was initiated by the Women’s Association for a New Constitution, using the hashtags #hvar (#where) and #HvarErNýjaStjórnarskráin (#WhereIsTheNewConstitution). Young women on TikTok and Instagram have been particularly active in the campaign, with some videos receiving upwards of 10,000 views.
Iceland attempted to draft the world’s first “crowdsourced constitution” in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, enlisting citizens—not politicians—to revise the constitution to better reflect the values and rights the nation wanted to emphasize moving forward. The process was intended to be democratic, modern (suggestions were solicited on social media, for instance, and a right to the internet was written into the amendments), and also meant to reflect an unprecedented level of transparency. The constitutional proposals were approved by a two-thirds majority of voters in a referendum that was held in October 2012, but, in a dispiriting turn of events, failed to receive the necessary parliamentary approval they needed to move forward that following spring.
Eight years later, participants in the #hvar campaign are posting tongue-in-cheek photos of themselves searching for the new constitution. Is it at the bottom of a laundry basket of dirty socks? Perhaps under a pile of fresh veg, under a rug, hidden in a Where’s Wally? book, or at the bottom of Tjörnin pond?
At time of writing, the Women’s Association for a New Constitution’s petition demanding that Alþingi pass the constitutional amendments into law had 19,192 signatures.