Inhabitants of Hafnarfjördur, outside Reykjavík, rejected the enlargement of the Alcan aluminum smelter in Straumsvík, located near the town, in an election on Saturday.
There were only 88 votes between the oppositions; 50.3 percent voted “no” and 49.7 percent voted “yes.” Nearly 80 percent of all inhabitants over 18 in Hafnarfjördur participated in the election, Fréttabladid reports.
“The situation in Hafnarfjördur will be unchanged from when this suggestion was first made. I believe the inhabitants of Hafnarfjördur will recover soon,” said Pétur Óskarsson, spokesperson for Sól í Straumi, a campaigning group against the enlargement.
“It was a decision that we had to make and now we have the results. We will start living with this tomorrow [Sunday],” Óskarsson added.
“The participation was great and it marks a turning point for elections in the form of inhabitant democracy. The difference is little of course, but nonetheless we have to respect the results,” said Mayor of Hafnarfjördur Lúdvík Geirsson.
“Inhabitants of Hafnarfjördur are sensible and responsible and we have been through a lot over the years. This election has been hard, but we will reach an agreement soon. The future is bright for Hafnarfjördur,” Geirsson added.
Director of Alcan in Iceland Rannveig Rist addressed her supporters after the final numbers were made public and thanked them for their contribution to the campaign.
“People are sad and disappointed,” Rist told Fréttabladid. “We will continue to run the current factory as well as we can and will take our time to consider what the future beholds. But we don’t have another plan than enlargement; there is no plan B.”
Click here to read more about the campaign.