Participation in discussion, a chance to study the issues and ask experts about them influences participants views on the the Icelandic Constitution and amendments to it. The changes are in some cases quite substantial.
This can be seen from the results of a Deliberative Poll, conducted by the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Iceland, in collaboration with the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University and this research project: Democratic Constitutional Design in 2019.
The Deliberative Poll began with a general survey last summer, where a relatively large sample was asked about views on several issues in the Icelandic constitution that the government wants to revise during this term. Participants in the survey were invited to join a deliberative meeting on the same issues which took place in Reykjavík last November. 233 people participated in the meeting – about 10% of those who answered the survey questionnaire.
The deliberative meeting was held 9-10 November 2019. 27 groups discussed the following issues: The Icelandic presidency, national referendums, the Parliament’s power to indict ministers and the court of impeachment, articles on how the constitution can be changed. Participants were asked to answer a questionnaire on they views to proposals about changed and new articles of the constitution. They were also asked about their values and their political environment and political participation.
In some areas no significant changes were seen before and after the deliberative meeting. Views on the Icelandic presidency e.g. did not change much. In other areas significant changes were detected, such as participant views about what the constitution should say about the status of international agreements, about the Parliament’s power to indict ministers and the Court of Impeachment.