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25 ordinary Icelanders to write new constitution

A team of 25 ordinary citizens has been voted in to write Iceland’s new constitution as the country seeks to get back on track after the trauma of its economic collapse, reports said Tuesday.

Public radio said 10 women and 15 men were picked after a vote which attracted a turnout of nearly 36 percent, with a poet and a well-known former news anchor behind a popular blog among those chosen.

“It looks like the people who vote Left politically were the ones who voted … people voted for famous people, names they recognised, but I’m not sure anything else could have been expected,” opposition member of parliament Gudlaugur Thor Thordarsson said.

“I hope they will be successful in what they do,” he told public radio.

Icelanders went to the polls on Saturday to elect peers to write a new constitution for the country amid lasting public anger towards the political elite over the collapse of the country’s major banks.

The once-wealthy nation is still trying to shake off the deep economic malaise that set in after the late 2008 bank crisis.

Some 522 people from all walks of life put themselves forward as candidates, with the only condition being that they had to be over 18 years of age and have at least 30 nominations.

The team will convene in mid-February and work for between two and four months on drafting a new charter to replace the one adopted when Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1944.

Among the many suggestions put forward ahead of Saturday’s vote was the formal separation of Church and state and the placing of all natural resources under public ownership, as well as a clear distinction being set between the legislative and executive branches of government.

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