Icesave: What do the commentators say? Skip to content

Icesave: What do the commentators say?

After the results of the Icesave referendum were known a number of well known commentators have voiced their opinion. We look at what three of them had to say on the eve of the referendum.

Cartoonist Halldór Baldursson of Morgunbladid interpreted the Prime Ministers feelings in a cartoon prior to the election:

OK, OK. I can read this. I just don’t understand what it means.

Former Minister of Justice, Björn Bjarnason of the Independence Party says on his blog site

„[Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir and Finance Minister Steingrímur Sigfússon] both spoke as if nothing had happened to the government. This is in spite of the fact that they fought with all their strength in both the summer session and the autumn session of Althingi [Iceland’s Parliament] for the Icesave proposal to become law. Now the law has been rejected in a memorable way. Then Sigurdardóttir and Sigfússon say that now is the time to work hard and solve the Icesave dispute. They really intend to do so.

Neither went to vote, even though they were always saying that this or the other thing should be put to a national vote. Now they minimize the importance of the referendum. They act as if the result changes nothing for the government.

Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir does not accept political facts, because she refuses to face them. She is also incapable of logically explaining the position that she and the government are in after the results are clear. She continues to work against the best interest of the nation.“

Economist Ólafur Ísleifsson, a professor in Economics at Reykjavík University says in an interview with

„This is a demand for a new approach so that the economic independence of the country will not be threatened. … “The results must be a serious food for thought for the leaders of the government. They have completely parted ways with the nation by not voting in a referendum that is of greatest importance to the future of the country. The result shows a great rift between them and the nation. They must consider their position and ask whether they can effectively lead the nation.“

Eiríkur Bergmann Eiríksson, a professor at Bifröst University and a longtime supporter of the Social Democrats says in an interview with

„The result is clear and participation in the referendum is good, considering the conditions. I would say that this includes a clear message from Icelanders to Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, that they will not be bullied.

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is the winner of the day. The nation has answered his call, but the government is weak after what has happened and the coalition is in fact hanging by a thread. There is great uncertainty about the future and in fact anything could happen.“

We end this by looking at another catoon from Morgunbladid’s Baldursson. This time the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance sit together:

The mood at the stadium is somewhat somber: “Will this term never end?”

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