A working lunch organised by Public Policy Network and So Say Scotland
30 March, 1.15-3pm, University of Edinburgh
This is a unique opportunity to listen to first hand testimony about one of the most remarkable processes of citizen participation of our time. If you are interested in democratic innovation and participatory politics, you will not want to miss this session about the current citizen-driven constitutional reform in Iceland. The Citizen Participation Network (PPN) and So Say Scotland invite you to a working lunch with Prof. Thorvaldur Gylfason. Thanks to the Icelandic Embassy for making his visit possible.
In January 2009 when the Icelandic people brought their parliament down in what was called the ‘pots and pans’ revolution, the question of ‘how fit is the constitution?’ was quick to many lips. Understanding the vested interests at play there was a feeling that the review process had to be transparent and participative if it had any chance of the necessary reforms sticking.
The process was designed in 3 parts:
1. A Constitutional Committee was appointed with 7 people to supervise
2. The convening of a National Assembly, 1000 random sample of the population meeting for a day of broad brush brain storming.
3. Then a Constitutional Assembly was called -with public voting for the 25 seats, 523 candidates stood- to work detail into the broad-brush strokes.
The four months of work of the Constitutional Assembly was delivered transparently, meetings were webcast, proposed articles were posted online with public comment invited and considered in the amending process. The resulting revised constitution was agreed unanimously by the Constitutional Assembly, and is now proposed to go to a national referendum later this year.
Thorvaldur Gylfason, an economics professor, and member of the Constitutional Assembly (elected with the most votes) will talk us through the process, where things stand now, and potential lessons for Scotland and the international community.