Icelandic MP accidentally votes to support government bill

Jon Gunnarsson, an Icelandic MP for the Independence Party, made a mistake when voting on the government bill on the constitutional assembly which took place on 16th June. He was the only Independence Party MP in Althingi who voted yes.

Oli Bjorn Karason voted no and all the other Independence Party members either abstained from the vote or did not turn up, reports.

Frettabladid this week covered the story, asking what motivated individual members in their voting.

“There has been a mistake in the voting,” Gunnarsson told the newspaper. “If I did indeed vote for the bill, which seems to be the case, then it was a mistake.”

The member’s yes vote was in sharp contrast to his speech on the subject four days before the vote. When speaking to the chamber, he espoused the party line that discussions on the constitutional assembly should wait until the country regains full stability.

He criticised the proposed constitutional assembly harshly, saying that it was being pushed too hard by the government and that many questions remained unanswered. “It is unavoidable to come to the conclusion that this issue [parliamentary bill] has been put together in panic and nervousness in the last days of the parliamentary session,” he said at the time.

At his request, Althingi employees are investigating the vote. But, he noted, his yes or no would not have changed the outcome of the vote in this case.

Following Althingi’s approval, a public election process began to select the 25 people who will come together to change the Icelandic constitution. The election went ahead but has since been voided for technical reasons by the Supreme Court of Iceland. It is not yet clear what will happen next.