On 24 May 2012, the Icelandic Parliament (the Althingi) resolved to hold an advisory referendum on the proposals submitted by the Constitutional Council for a new Constitution and matters relating to the proposals.
The referendum will be held under the Act on the Conduct of Referendums, No. 91/2010. This states that the outcomes of referendums have advisory value. Under this act, the outcome of a general, secret referendum held in accordance with a resolution by the Althingi on a particular matter or legal practice has advisory value. Thus, the aim of this referendum is to find out the nation’s views on whether draft legislation on a new Constitution should be based on the Constitutional Council’s proposals, and also its attitudes towards five particular questions in connection with the proposals which would introduce new features or amendments to the current Constitution.
This website covers:
- the matters to be put to a referendum on 20 October 2012,
- what an advisory referendum includes,
- the appointment and work of the Constitutional Council,
- what will happen after the referendum.
On three previous occasions the Althingi has decided to hold advisory referendums on specific matters: on the prohibition on alcohol imports in 1908, on a national service obligation for men in 1916 and on the lifting of the prohibition on alcohol in 1933. The turnout was highest (71.5%) in 1908 and lowest (45.3%) in 1933. In all cases, the will of the majority of participating voters was complied with.
The University of Iceland’s Law Institute was commissioned by the Office of the Althingi to supervise the texts of publicity materials.