President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson just announced in a press conference that he will not sign the new Icesave legislation but instead send it to a national referendum. He reasoned that the majority of the nation wants to vote on the legislation as indicated in recent polls.
President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson when he announced his decision to send the Icesave legislation to a referendum this afternoon. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The president also mentioned that only a slight majority of MPs voted against a referendum on Icesave in parliament when the new Icesave legislation was passed last week and that a large proportion of voters had signed a petition urging him to make this move.
When a reporter asked the president whether he was not undermining the authority of the parliament by refusing to sign a legislation for which a strong majority of MPs, 44 against 16, were in favor, he said this was not the case.
In Iceland, the president is intended to be more of a symbolic than a political leader and before Grímsson took office, no other president ever vetoed legislations.
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