Voters in Iceland resisted radical change in last weekend’s parliamentary election. Boosting citizen participation could show the way ahead for a parliament that is more diverse than ever.
Bruno Kaufmann, correspondent for northern Europe at the public Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, and international expert on direct democracy, says Iceland has gone through turbulent times over the past decade.
In a seeming paradox of rapid change and resistance, Iceland’s citizens cling to old traditions while embracing progressive reforms.
In an article for the democracy platform people2power, Kaufmann retraces the struggle for a new national constitution up to the parliamentary elections held on October 29, 2016.
The incumbent centre-right Independence Party Now and its coalition partner, the Progressive Party, has now won 29 of 63 seats in parliament.
Pro EU party
But it is the newly formed Regeneration Party which holds the key to forming the next government.
This pro-European group wants a nationwide vote notably on whether Iceland should resume talks with Brussels on membership in the 28-nation bloc.
The last government in Reykjavík had suspended negotiations without consulting voters first, breaking an election campaign promise.
Iceland, an island nation halfway between Norway and Greenland with a population of about 330,000 people, may be known for its natural beauty and for its volcanos.
But did you know that a volcanic eruption is understood to be one to the triggering events of the 18th century French Revolution, and therefore, the birth of modern representative democracy in Europe?
For details read full article here.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch