The government of Iceland released a statement in reaction to the first numbers from the Icesave referendum last night, emphasizing that work will continue on finding a mutually acceptable agreement with the governments of the UK and the Netherlands.
The government offices of Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The government’s statement reads as follows:
“Today [yesterday] saw the first national referendum in Iceland since the foundation of the Republic. The referendum was on whether an amendment to the so-called Icesave Act should stand or be repealed, that is Act 1/2010 amending Act 96/2009 empowering the Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Treasury, to guarantee loans to the Deposit and Investor Guarantee Fund from the British and Dutch governments to cover payments of minimum deposit guarantees to depositors in Icesave accounts of Landsbanki Íslands hf.
Early figures indicate a decisive result and assuming final results in line with these figures, Act 1/2010 will be automatically repealed pursuant to Article 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of Iceland.
The referendum was called following the decision on 5 January by the President of Iceland to withhold confirmation of the amendment to the Icesave law, under Article 26 of the Constitution. Subsequently Althingi enacted a law on the conduct of the referendum and its date. However, the context for the referendum changed with the Government seeking and establishing a broad political consensus on the appointment of a new negotiating committee and new talks over the past few weeks with the British and Dutch authorities on a solution to the issue.
Over the past several weeks there has been a steady progress toward a settlement. In the context of these new talks, the British and Dutch Governments have indicated a willingness to accept a solution that will entail a significantly lower cost for Iceland than that envisaged in the prior agreement. During the talks the Icelandic negotiating team has also put forward a proposal which entails that Iceland guarantees full payment of deposits up the minimum laid down by EEA rules.
The Icelandic authorities will continue to work towards a satisfactory solution to the Icesave issue on this basis. The three governments have declared their intention to continue the talks and find a solution to the matter.”
The final results from yesterday’s referendum will not be clear until the afternoon.
Click here to read about the first numbers from the referendum.