Referendum On NATO Membership Proposed - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Referendum On NATO Membership Proposed

Published October 18, 2011

The Leftist-Greens have submitted a parliamentary proposal calling for a public referendum on whether or not Iceland should remain a part of NATO.
Every member of the Leftist-Greens, with the exception of Steingrímur J. Sigfússon and Jón Bjarnason, co-signed the proposal, along with Birgitta Jónsdóttir of The Movement and Atli Gíslason, who is unaffiliated. They call for the referendum to take place no later than next year.
In the language of the proposal, they refer to how Iceland came to join NATO in the first place. Parliament voted in March 1949 to join the newly-formed organisation, despite the idea being hugely unpopular with the Icelandic people. This culminated in riots in front of parliament, and the birth of an anti-NATO movement.
Although this movement lost steam with the departure of American forces in 2006, NATO air strikes against Libya have re-kindled questions about whether or not Iceland should be a part of the organisation. The MPs who signed the proposal recommend that Iceland forge civil alliances with other countries on its own terms, rather than be a part of a military organisation.
A vote on the proposal is expected shortly.

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