Iceland’s PM Calls Icesave Referendum “Pointless” Skip to content

Iceland’s PM Calls Icesave Referendum “Pointless”

Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir is not going to vote on the Icesave legislation in the referendum tomorrow.

Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

“I think it is pointless and very sad that the first referendum that is held since the republic was founded will be about a legislation that has already become obsolete,” Sigurdardóttir told Fréttabladid.

“No one is talking in favor of this legislation anymore; the situation has changed so much in the past weeks and we already have a more favorable solution worth 70 billion [USD 545 million, EUR 401 million] in debt burden,” the prime minister added.

Yesterday evening Sigurdardóttir said there are no indications that a new agreement on Icesave will be reached between the governments of Iceland, the UK and the Netherlands before the referendum tomorrow.

However, she hopes that negotiations can continue next week, emphasizing that a solution must be reached as soon as possible.

“I fear that the delay will cost us more than what we would benefit from a new agreement. ASÍ [the Confederation of Labor] say that this issue has already delayed the [economic] restoration by six months with the accompanying costs,” the prime minister commented.

She said she has also noticed various misunderstandings regarding the referendum tomorrow.

“Some people seem to think that the issue will disappear if the legislation is rejected but that is a grave misunderstanding. It is also a misunderstanding that the issue will be taken straight to the courts. The three countries must decide that in unison and the British and Dutch have always rejected that way,” Sigurdardóttir said.

The prime minister pointed out that if the Icelandic nation rejects the legislation from December 30, the legislation from August 28 will take effect. However, that legislation won’t last.

“The British and Dutch didn’t agree to that legislation and therefore it is not correct that we will start with a clean table. Then it isn’t even certain that we will maintain the more favorable debt burden of 70 billion,” the prime minister concluded.

Leaders of the opposition parties encourage people to go to the polls and vote against the Icesave legislation tomorrow, Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon says people should make up their own minds whether they want to vote or not.

Chairman of the Progressive Party Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson believes that Iceland will be in a better position to negotiate if the legislation is rejected, reasoning that talks will continue at a clean table.

Click here to read more about Icesave and stay tuned for news about the outcome of the referendum this weekend.

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