Iceland 2011 Draft Constitution

Table of Contents

Chapter V. Ministers and Cabinet

Article 86. Cabinet Ministers

Cabinet Ministers are the supreme holders of executive powers, each in his own area. They are each responsible for the affairs of the ministries and administrative affairs falling within their province.

If a Cabinet Minister is unable to address an issue owing to disqualification, absence or for other reasons, the Prime Minister shall entrust the matter to another Minister.

No one may retain the same ministerial post for more than eight years.

Article 87. The Cabinet

Ministers are members of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister shall call meetings of the Cabinet, preside at the meetings and oversee the work of Cabinet Ministers.

Meetings of the Cabinet shall be held to discuss legislative bills and proposals to the Althing, other important political affairs and for consultation on the work and policy affairs of the Cabinet. Meetings of the Cabinet shall also be held at the request of a Cabinet Minister.

The Cabinet shall make joint decisions on important matters or matters of policy pursuant to further provisions of law. A majority of the Cabinet Ministers must be present at the meetings when such decisions are made.

The Government Offices of Iceland shall be located in Reykjavik.

Article 88. Registration of interests and public service

A Cabinet Minister is not permitted to undertake any other paid employment while in office. The same applies to work in the interest of private undertakings and public agencies, even if unpaid.

The obligation of Cabinet Ministers to disclose information on their financial interests shall be provided for by law.

Article 89. Cabinet Ministers and the Althing

Ministers shall introduce legislative bills and motions from the Cabinet, respond to questions and participate in debates in the Althing when called upon, but must observe the parliamentary rules of order.

Cabinet Ministers shall not have voting rights in the Althing.

If a Member of the Althing is appointed to a ministerial post, the Member shall vacate his seat while in office, in which case his alternate shall take his seat.

Article 90. Formation of government

The Althing shall elect the Prime Minister.

Following consultation with parliamentary parties and Members of the Althing, the President of Iceland shall submit to the Althing a proposal for the post of Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is duly elected if the proposal is passed by a majority of the Althing. Otherwise, the President of Iceland shall make a new proposal in the same manner. If this proposal is not passed, an election shall take place in the Althing between those who are put forward by Members of the Althing, parliamentary parties or the President of Iceland. The candidate receiving the most votes is the duly elected Prime Minister.

If a Prime Minister has not been elected within ten weeks, the Althing shall be dissolved and a new election called.

The Prime Minister shall decide on the organisation of ministries and the number of Ministers and allocate responsibilities among them; however, Ministers shall not be more than ten.

The President of Iceland shall inaugurate the Prime Minister to his post. The President shall release the Prime Minister from his office after parliamentary elections, if a motion of no-confidence is passed or at the request of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister shall appoint other Cabinet Ministers and release them from their posts.

Cabinet Ministers shall sign an oath to the Constitution when they assume their posts.

Article 91. Motions of no confidence

A motion of no confidence in a Cabinet Minister may be submitted in the Althing. A motion of no confidence in a Prime Minister shall include a proposal for his successor.

A Minister shall be released from his office if a majority of the Members of the Althing pass a motion of no confidence in him. The Cabinet shall be relieved of office if a majority of Members of the Althing pass a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Article 92. Interim government

After the Prime Minister has been released together with his Cabinet, the Cabinet shall remain in office as an interim government until a new government has been formed. The same applies if the Althing is dissolved. Ministers in an interim government shall take only such decisions as may be necessary for the discharge of their duties.

Article 93. Obligation of disclosure and truthfulness

A Cabinet Minister is under obligation to provide the Althing or a parliamentary committee with any information, documents and reports on matters that come under his authority unless classified as secret by law.

Members of the Althing are entitled to information from Cabinet Ministers by submitting a question on a matter or requesting a report, according to the further provisions of law.

Information provided by a Cabinet Minister to the Althing, its parliamentary committees and Members shall be correct, appropriate and sufficient.

Article 94. Report of the government to the Althing

The government shall submit an annual report to the Althing on its work and the implementation of resolutions of the Althing.

A Minister may provide an account of matters falling under his authority by a report to the Althing.

Article 95. Ministerial responsibility

Cabinet Ministers are legally accountable for all government actions. However, if a Cabinet Minister has noted his opposition to a decision of government, that Minister shall not be held accountable for the decision. Liability for their breach of duty shall be decided by law.

The Constitutional and Supervisory Committee of the Althing shall decide, following a review, whether an investigation should be launched into alleged breaches of duty by a Cabinet Minister. The Committee shall appoint a prosecutor to undertake the investigation. The prosecutor shall assess whether the conclusion of the investigation is sufficient or likely to obtain a conviction, in which case he shall issue an indictment and prosecute the case before the courts of law. The investigation and process of such cases shall be further provided for by law.

Article 96. Appointment of public officials

Cabinet Ministers and other government authorities shall grant public posts as provided by law.

Qualifications and objective viewpoints shall decide appointments to offices.

When a Cabinet Minister makes an appointment to the posts of judge and Director of Public Prosecutions, the appointment shall be submitted to the President of Iceland for confirmation. If the President withhold his confirmation, the Althing must approve the appointment by a two-thirds majority vote for the appointment to take effect.

Ministers shall make appointments to other posts as defined by law following recommendation by an independent committee. If a Minister does not appoint to such an office one of the persons regarded as most qualified, the appointment shall be subject to the approval of the Althing by a two-thirds majority vote.

The President of Iceland shall appoint the chairman of the committee. Further details of the composition of the committee and its work shall be provided for by law.

The exclusive appointment of Icelandic citizens to certain posts may be provided for by law. A public official may be required to take an oath to the Constitution.

Article 97. Independent state agencies

Certain agencies of the State which carry out important regulatory functions or gather information which is necessary in a democratic society may be granted special independence by law. The activities of such agencies cannot be discontinued, significantly changed or entrusted to other agencies except by an act of law passed by a two-thirds majority in the Althing.