The Icesave law which was passed by parliament last December and summarily vetoed by the president in January, was soundly defeated by public referendum on Saturday. With the defeat of the law, the terms and conditions of the Icesave deal that were taken off the table with the president’s veto are now officially no longer in effect.
In case you missed Grapevine’s liveblogging of the referendum, the final count showed 144,231 ballots submitted – 62.7% of eligible voters – of whom only 2,599 voted in favor of the law. The other 93.2% of the vote went against.
Opposition party chairmen were quick to declare victory. Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson told reporters that the result showed that the people do not trust the ruling coalition, while Progressive Chairman Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson going so far as to say new elections should be held this spring – an opinion Benediktsson did not share.
Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have said that the ruling coalition will continue to hold, and that Icesave negotiations will continue. British finance minister Alistair Darling told Reuters as much, saying that his government was ready to show some flexibilty, but that the amount Iceland should pay is not up for debate.
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