Around 230,000 people in Iceland are voting in a referendum Saturday on whether to repay £3,9 billion pounds to Britain and the Netherlands. Iceland’s Prime Minister says she will not be casting her vote.
“I will not vote because we have a better, more favorable solution to the problem.”
Around 230,000 people in Iceland are voting in a referendum today on whether to repay billions of pounds to Britain and the Netherlands. The two governments are claiming the money after refunding savers in the collapsed internet bank, Icesave, in 2008.
The deal that Icelanders are being asked to vote on has been superseded in negotiations between Britain, Iceland and the Netherlands over the past two months.
The Icelandic government had hoped to avoid the vote by agreeing the new repayment plan before the weekend.
According to the latest opinion poll, 75% of voters will reject the agreement, which was passed by parliament in late December.
Some voters may use the vote as an opportunity to express their frustration over their country’s dramatic fall grace.
A “no” vote would create another obstacle on Iceland’s difficult road out of a deep recession, jeopardizing its credit rating and make it harder to access much-needed bailout money from the International Monetary Fund. It could also harm Iceland’s chances of joining the European Union.
The Netherlands said today that it will take negotiations with Iceland over a bank debt dispute into account when considering Iceland’s hopes to join the EU.
“We have been negotiating with Iceland about the Icesave matter. I assume it will be resolved,” Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen says.
“This issue will be part of our considerations when deciding about the opening of accession negotiations with Iceland,” he add.
Iceland has said it hopes to conclude the talks and join the EU by 2012.
Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has said she will not be casting her ballot today because she felt it was “meaningless” and that further talks were the way to resolve the Icesave problem.
“I will not vote because we’ve a better, more favourable solution to the problem,” Ms Sigurdardottir told reporters.
Source: RTE News Iceland
Related by RTE:
- Iceland sets time frame for Icesave vote
- Iceland decision on bank set for referendum
- Iceland petition over bank payback
- Iceland to seek EU membership vote
Related by the Econotwist:
Related articles by Zemanta
- Iceland to vote on Icesave plan (news.bbc.co.uk)
- Iceland Braces for Consequences of Icesave Vote (abcnews.go.com)
- Iceland referendum ‘to go ahead’ (news.bbc.co.uk)
- Icelanders To Vote On Paying Back UK (news.sky.com)
- Should Iceland be forced to repay debts? (bbc.co.uk)
- Icelanders Appear Likely to Reject $5.3 Billion Deal (nytimes.com)