Icelandic Politicians Ignore Crowdsourced Constitution; Pirate Party Rejoices
from the we-know-what-happens-next dept
Techdirt has been following the fascinating saga of Iceland’s crowdsourced constitution for nearly two years. Back in October 2012, we noted that Icelandic citizens gave it a pretty big thumbs up. Reflecting that, it really looked like Iceland’s parliament might pass the associated bill, and go down in the history books for this bold re-invention of itself.
But the politicians have just put a stop to that, as Thorvaldur Gylfason explains on his blog:
32 out of 63 members of parliament were induced by an e-mail campaign organized by ordinary citizens to declare that they supported the bill and wanted to adopt it now. Despite these public declarations, however, the bill was not brought to a vote in the parliament, a heinous betrayal — and probably also an illegal act committed with impunity by the president of the parliament. Rather, the parliament decided to disrespect its own publicly declared will as well as the popular will as expressed in the national referendum by putting the bill on ice and, to add insult to injury, hastily requiring 2/3 of parliament plus 40% of the popular vote to approve any change in the constitution in the next parliament, meaning that at least 80% voter turnout would be required for a constitutional reform to be accepted in the next session of parliament.
In other words, not content with simply ignoring the will of the people to adopt this crowdsourced constitution, the Icelandic politicians have now made it even harder to bring in something in the future.
By a happy coincidence, a new Pirate Party has been formed in Iceland, and is already doing quite well given its recent formation, as Rick Falkvinge explains:
The poll gives the Icelandic Píratar 5.6% of the votes, translating to four seats in the Icelandic Parliament. This growth is nothing short of phenomenal, even within the Pirate Party movement, and it would seem that the Icelandic pirates will be the first to put people in a regular, proportional, national-level parliament. (Sweden was first with the European Parliament, Germany was first with state-level parliament, and the Czech pirates were first with a senator.)
As we’ve seen elsewhere, there’s nothing like a little outrageous behavior from mainstream politicians to drive voters into the arms of the Pirates, so Falkvinge’s understandably optimistic predictions may well turn out to be true. Let’s hope so, if only as a punishment for the contempt shown by the Icelandic parliament for its people.