President of Iceland Confirms Icesave Legislation Skip to content

President of Iceland Confirms Icesave Legislation

By Iceland Review

President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson confirmed the legislation authorizing a state guarantee for the loans granted by the governments of the UK and the Netherlands to the Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund of Iceland yesterday, so that Landsbanki’s Icesave depositors in these countries can be compensated.

President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

While confirming the Icesave legislation, the president released a statement pointing out that although various preconditions are involved in the legislation on which the Althingi parliament had agreed, there is still considerable opposition against the legislation in society, reports.

“Like the signatures of around 10,000 Icelanders, which the president received, indicate,” the statement reads. “The president has therefore decided to confirm the legislation with a specially addressed reference to Althingi’s preconditions.”

Björg Thorarensen, a professor at the University of Iceland’s law department, said that in her view the president’s declaration doesn’t have any legal validation. With the declaration the president is making his stand known while signing the legislation as one of two holders of the legislative power, along with Althingi.

Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson, a professor in political science at the University of Iceland, agreed that the declaration has no administrative validation. “It is just a political declaration that he has decided not to respond to calls to veto the legislation and probably his explanation as to why he made this decision.”

Kristinsson believes that the president may be facing a certain problem because of his argumentation in 2004 when he decided to veto the controversial bill on media ownership after receiving a petition from the public. At that time he declared the matter as important because a rift had formed between the parliament and the nation.

Kristinsson said the current situation is in many ways similar. “[The state guarantee] is obviously an important matter and there seems to be a considerable difference between the views of Althingi and the views of the public. That begs the question: Why is he reacting differently than in 2004? This seems to be his attempt to face the criticism.”

In response to the president’s declaration, the representatives of the petition reiterated that they are not taking a stand with or against the Icesave legislation; the demand is that the public will be given the right to vote on it in a referendum.

Click here to read more about the Icesave petition.

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