Iceland: Voters reject plan to repay Icesave debts

Iceland Voters Reject Repayment Plan (New York Times):

Iceland’s voters expressed their outrage on Saturday against bankers, the government and what they saw as foreign bullying, overwhelmingly rejecting a plan to pay $5.3 billion to Britain and the Netherlands to reimburse customers of a failed Icelandic bank, Sarah Lyall reported in The New York Times.

With about 98 percent of the votes counted Sunday, roughly 93 percent of voters said no to the plan, in the first public referendum ever held on any subject in Iceland. Less than 2 percent voted yes, and the rest of the votes were invalid.

Icelanders celebrate ‘no’ vote

Voters in Iceland have overwhelmingly rejected proposals to pay the UK and the Netherlands in the wake of collapse of the Icesave bank.

With a third of results counted, 93% of voters said “No” in a referendum.

Iceland’s prime minister says her government will remain in office and continue to seek a repayment deal.

The British and Dutch governments want reimbursement for the 3.8bn euros (£3.4bn; $5.2bn) they paid out in compensation to customers in 2008.

Talks between Iceland, the UK and the Netherlands three countries broke down on Friday without agreement.

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said she would not vote in Saturday’s poll as her government was seeking to continue the negotiations.

With a third of votes counted, 93% of Icelanders have voted “No”, less than 2% back the deal, and the remaining votes are invalid.

Mrs Sigurdardottir said that her government would stay in office, despite the “No” results.

“This has no impact on the life of the government,” she said.

“Now we need to get on with the task in front of us, namely to finish the negotiations with the Dutch and the British.”

During voting on Saturday, hundreds of protesters outside parliament in the capital Reykjavik banged pots and waved banners reading “Icesave No! No! No!”.

As results came in, Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphethinsson said talks with the UK and the Netherlands would continue, adding that the referendum result was good for his government’s position.

“It certainly doesn’t weaken our hand,” Mr Skarphethinsson said.

Referendum defended

The government had hoped to avoid the vote by agreeing a new repayment plan before the weekend.

Icelandic voter: “I voted no of course”

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