Writing on her Facebook page, Icelandic prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir has celebrated the number of people who have signed a petition calling for a referendum on Iceland’s natural resources, and said she will be assembling advisers to work out the next step.
Last weekend’s karaoke marathon, organised by artist Björk Guðmundsdóttir and others to raise the number of signatures on a petition calling for the government to stop the sale of HS Orka to Magma Energy and to put forward a national referendum on the use of natural resources, exceeded all expectations of support. The goal of 35,000 was surpassed, and is currently at 47,000 signatures and rising. This amounts to over 15% of the population.
Writing on Facebook, the prime minister said, “One of the most important projects of this government is to secure the ownership of the people over its natural resources and that the dividends go to the people. This means not just our energy resources but also our resources from the sea. I celebrate the great support for public ownership of resources, which showed in the demands of tens of thousands of Icelanders, for a national referendum on the ownership of resources and their use.”
The prime minister was also the first to comment on her status, adding, “I have invited the spokespeople for the organisation [behind the petition] to a meeting in the coming days where we will go over the matter and discuss how we can achieve this goal.”
The prime minister made no mention of HS Orka or Magma Energy, who contend that the sale is too late to stop, as it has already been completed. However, as the Grapevine reported, members of the Foreign Investment Review Committee have already pointed out that the government does have the right to nullify the sale under the clause of eminent domain. A statement from the petition organisers emphasised as much, saying that the law is on their side.
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