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Iceland: constitution being drafted online

Iceland is using social media to get its citizens to share their ideas and help draft the country’s new constitution.

Iceland is overhauling its constitution after the country faced an economic catastrophe and saw the collapse of its banks and government in 2008.

For its first constitution, when the island nation gained independence from Denmark in 1944, Iceland took the Danish constitution and made small changes like replacing “king” with “president,” the Associated Press reports.

This time around, the country is turning to its tech-savvy citizens for ideas.

“To me, it has long been clear that a comprehensive review of the constitution would only be carried out with the direct participation of the Icelandic people,” Iceland’s Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir reportedly said.

The constitutional council’s weekly meetings are broadcast live on Facebook and on the council’s website, AP states. The members then negotiate and discuss via Facebook, and the public can leave comments there. Two-thirds of Iceland’s population is on Facebook.

The council also has a Twitter account, YouTube page and Flickr account so members and the public can interact.

This is the likely the first time a country’s constitution has been drafted on the internet, Thorvaldur Gylfason, member of Iceland’s constitutional council, told the Guardian.

“The public sees the constitution come into being before their eyes,” he said. “This is very different from old times where constitution makers sometimes found it better to find themselves a remote spot out of sight, out of touch.”

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