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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Iceland’s citizens help draft new constitution via the Internet -- People power + Modern tools

In a possible world-first, Iceland’s citizens have helped draft a new constitution via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The draft document has been presented to Iceland’s parliamentary speaker.

A council of 25 ordinary, publicly-elected Icelandic citizens presented a draft constitution to Iceland's parliamentary speaker Asta Ragnheidur Johannesdottir on Friday. This may be the first time that citizens have actively contributed suggestions via the Internet and were able to follow progress on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

The constitution of the island nation of 320,000 people was first instituted in 1944. The Icelandic parliament, known as Althingi, agreed in 2010 that the country's citizens should be involved to include their viewpoint, on the core values of the constitution.

The council began work on the draft constitution in April. During this time, its work was posted on the Internet. Icelanders submitted around 1,600 propositions and comments on the council's website. (more)