President Calls for Referendum on Fishing Quota Skip to content

President Calls for Referendum on Fishing Quota

President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson said in an interview in the radio program Sprengisandur on Bylgjan yesterday that the government’s bill on amendments to the fishing quota system should go to a national referendum.


President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson speaking with protestors. Archive photo by Geir Ólafsson.

That way the nation could take a position on how to allocate the right to exploit the natural resource, the president reasoned, adding that he was certain the government couldn’t criticize him for referring such an issue to a national referendum, reports.

Minister of Fisheries Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said he would not be anxious about the outcome of a national referendum on the fishing quota and that he believes people are eager to make changes to the system so that they can profit from the natural resource.

However, he added that he finds it unconventional that the president is calling for a national referendum at this stage, indicating that he will use his veto right on a bill that is still under preparation.

Steingrímur agreed that the quota issue is one that would be suited for a referendum but questioned the general method of arranging referendums through the president’s veto.

In Iceland the president is neither part of the legislative nor the executive but must approve bills by signing them. If he refuses to do so, they will move on to a national referendum.

Ólafur Ragnar was the first president in Iceland’s history to use the veto right when he refused to sign a bill on media ownership in 2004 and on Icesave in 2010 and 2011.

Click here to read more about the controversial quota bill.


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