From Iceland — Overwhelming Majority Want Referendum, Foreign Minister Says "Out Of The Question"

Overwhelming Majority Want Referendum, Foreign Minister Says “Out Of The Question”

Published March 3, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Paul Fontaine

A new poll shows a growing majority of Icelanders from every party want a referendum on whether or not to continue EU accession talks, but Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson says a referendum is “out of the question”, and blamed the media in part for the poll’s results.

The results of the poll show that 81.6% of Icelanders want to vote in a referendum on whether or not to continue European Union accession talks. Broken down by party affiliation, the majority of voters from every party support the idea as well.

Support was highest amongst supporters of Bright Future, 94.6% of whom said they wanted a referendum. Support was lowest amongst Progressives, at 51.9%. Moreover, Progressives in Kópavogur have issued a statement calling for Gunnar Bragi to withdraw his proposal to end accession talks altogether – pointing out that the ruling coalitionpromised such a referendum before the elections last April.

Gunnar Bragi shared his thoughts on the matter with Vísir, saying:

“I welcome the fact that the people are interested in this issue, and it doesn’t surprise me, considering how the matter has developed in parliament and how the media has reported on it, a very one-sided and special reportage,” adding that a referendum on the matter is “out of the question”.

Furthermore, Gunnar Bragi remains unconvinced of the significance of a petition calling for a referendum that over 41,000 Icelanders have signed so far. Interestingly, in 2011 he had a completely different opinion of another petition – this one on household debt relief – telling parliament, “What is being done about the demands that these 33,000 signed under? We must follow the demands of the public, Madam President, that so many have signed.”

Meanwhile, the results of a Gallup poll conducted between February 1 and 27 show that support for the ruling coalition is dropping, while support for every party in the opposition has increased.

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