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June 27, 2017

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Iceland votes on world-first 'crowdsourced' constitution

REYKJAVIK --Icelanders voted Saturday in a consultative referendum on what has been dubbed the world's first "crowdsourced constitution," but turnout was sluggish amid fears politicians would ignore the results.

The new basic law was drafted by 25 ordinary citizens and includes proposals made on Twitter and Facebook.

On Saturday, voters were to answer six questions on topics such as the role of the country's natural resources and of the national church with a simple yes or no.

But amid uncertainty over whether lawmakers would implement the results, voter turnout at Reykjavik's polling stations seemed to trail other referenda.

"I've been at sea and have not had much time to think about these matters. Besides I don't think it really matters because there is no certainty that the will of the voters will prevail," said Gunnar Olafsson, a fisherman.

In Reykjavik's northern constituency, 13.07 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballots by 1400 GMT.

By comparison, 21.62 percent had voted at the same time last year, when Icelanders for the second time decided whether to approve a deal to compensate Britain and The Netherlands for the 2008 collapse of Icesave bank.

"Turnout is picking up," said Katrin Theodorsdottir, head of Reykjavik North's election committee, about midday.

The six questions on the ballot were chosen by a committee of 25 ordinary citizens elected in 2010 to review the country's constitution. They in turn took to the Internet to solicit the views of their fellow Icelanders.

"To me this was not a difficult choice. I think the people should decide how the constitution is," said pensioner Margret Einarsdottir, another voter.

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