From Iceland — Ruling Coalition: Wiser to Avoid Referendum and Re-Negotiate

Ruling Coalition: Wiser to Avoid Referendum and Re-Negotiate

Published January 18, 2010

In recent statements to the press, both Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon have said that they believe it a better option to re-negotiate the Icesave deal rather than take it to referendum.
The prime minister, in an interview with Rás 2 Morning Radio, said that people need to accept that if the Icesave law is defeated in a public referendum, re-negotiations with British and Dutch authorities would have to go forward anyway. Therefore, she believes it would be wiser to avoid a referendum and begin re-negotiations as is. She said that she remains optimistic that this will be possible.
The minister of finance took much the same time in an interview he took part in for the Swedish newspaper Svenska dagbledet, saying in part that Icesave was an extraordinarily complicated issue, warning of possible consequences if the matter is defeated in a public referendum.
It should be noted, however, that British and Dutch authorities have said they are not interested in re-negotiations until the Icelandic government can establish a more solid foundation of multi-partisan support for the law. For this reason, the chairmen of Iceland’s political parties have been meeting frequently in the hopes of reaching some consensus on the matter.

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