President Olafur Grimsson
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Icelanders rejected a depositor claims accord with the U.K. and Netherlands, forcing an international court battle that the island’s government said will probably last a year.
A final count showed 59.7 percent of voters said no to the so-called Icesave agreement, while 40.1 percent said yes, with voter turnout estimated at 75 percent…
… Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said in an interview with broadcaster RUV, immediately after the first results were published. “We will, of course, defend Iceland’s interests vigorously in this matter.”
The government had hoped an Icesave deal would restore investor and diplomatic relations and end the financial isolation that has stalled Iceland’s resurrection from its 2008 banking collapse. The failure of Landsbanki Islands hf, which offered the high-yielding Icesave accounts over the internet, threatened to leave 350,000 British and Dutch depositors in the lurch. They were repaid by their governments, which are now turning to the Icelandic state for compensation…
President Olafur R. Grimsson said the referendum “enabled the nation to regain its democratic self-confidence and to express sovereign authority in its own affairs,” in a speech yesterday. Three days after his veto, he said he rejected the accord because Iceland’s legal obligation to pay is “unclear,” adding the matter shows that European banking laws haven’t been “thoroughly thought out.”
The result of the Icesave referendum shows most voters agree…
The latest estimates of Landsbanki’s assets “indicate that the estate will be able to pay over 90 percent of claims for deposits,” the government said in a statement. Some estimates even put the coverage ratio at 100 percent, it said.
“Hence, the Netherlands and the U.K. will receive a refund of the funds spent to compensate depositors, regardless of the judicial process which will now be launched,” Iceland Finance Ministry spokeswoman Rosa Bjork Brynjolfsdottir said.
Bravo to the people of Iceland for sticking to their guns. Bailouts, nationalization,TARP programs all had different goals and dramatically different contexts from each other. The people of Iceland see a difference that the bankers and politicians of the Netherlands and the UK don’t see – or don’t care about.
Iceland is a nation I love not only for the natural wonders of the nation; but, their history of fighting for peoples’ rights. They have the longest-sitting democratic parliament in the world – and could offer about a hundred lessons to the Killer Klowns in Kongress.