- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
Iceland seems to have proved the haters wrong, with voters overwhelmingly approving a new constitution which is partially based on suggestions drawn from Twitter and Facebook. The International Herald Tribute reports:
Enthusiasts of open government say the initiative could be a model for people power in other parts of the world where politicians monopolize policy decisions in the face of mounting crises.
Two-thirds of voters in the referendum, which took place last weekend, backed a proposed constitution put together by a 25-member Constitutional Council who took into account comments they received via social media.
Around half of Iceland’s 235,000-strong electorate participated. Citizens also backed specific measures that included greater national control over the island’s natural resources.
Although the vote is not binding on Iceland’s Parliament, the Althing, supporters of change believe it will be difficult for politicians to ignore the outcome.
The new constitution, whose drafting was prompted by the 2008 financial crisis, is here. According to Reuters, new features include a clause decarling all non-privately owned natural resources "national property," provisions allowing citiens to call their own referendums, and a three-term limit for the presidency. It’s not quite clear from the coverage which of these ideas were drawn from social media, but judging from the referendum, people seem satisfied one way or another.
Prime Minister Joanna Sigurdardottir, who was elected in the wake of the crisis as the country’s first female pm and the world’s first openly gay head of government, recently announced that she will step down next year.