President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, in his New Year’s address, praised the Icelandic people for “taking charge” when they voted down the Icesave law earlier this year.
“The core of democracy is the will of the people,” he said in part. “The referendum was without a doubt a testament to how a well-run republic operates when the going gets tough, that the people are fully ready to use the power that they have.”
He then directed remarks at parliament – where the sitting government has at times been at odds with him, in particular over Icesave and the European Union – saying, “It is also important that those who are elected have in mind that they are in the service of the people. It is the people in the country, the nation itself, that has the highest power.”
The president also said that a country which prides itself in following the Scandinavian social welfare model should not tolerate people having to stand in line at food banks. He encouraged Icelanders to unite together in the fight against poverty.
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