Icelandic loan guarantees referendum, 2011
|This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
A referendum on the loan guarantees repayment by Iceland to the governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands for their loan guarantees to the Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund of Iceland (Tryggingarsjóður innstæðueigenda og fjárfesta) over the failure of the Icesave bank was held in Iceland on 9 April 2011. This was the second referendum on the issue after a previous one was held in March 2010. After the referendum failed to pass, the British and Dutch governments said that they would take the case to the European courts.[dead link]
The referendum was held under article 26 of the Icelandic Constitution after President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson refused to counter-sign the corresponding Act of Parliament (known as the third Icesave bill) into law on 20 February 2011. The Althingi approved Act No. 1/2010, in amendment to Act No. 96/2009, authorising the Minister of Finance, on behalf of the State Treasury, to issue a state guarantee to cover deposit insurance over the failure of Icesave. However, the president did not approve the bill, but instead asked for it to be taken to a referendum.
A previous referendum held in Iceland on 6 March 2010 regarding a previous offer made by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands was defeated, with 93% voting against and less than 2% in favour of agreeing to the terms. The Icelandic president once again refused to sign the new deal on 20 February, calling for a new referendum.
According to an early opinion poll carried out in Iceland on 20 and 21 February 60.7% supported the president's decision to refer the law to referendum, while 57.7% said that they would vote to confirm the legislation. Later polls, however, showed that 52–57% of the population said they would reject the Icesave legislation.
|Icelandic loan guarantees referendum, 2011|
|Invalid or blank votes||2,445||1.40%|
After preliminary results suggested that the referendum would be rejected, both Icelandic and British governments officials expressed their disappointment at the preliminary result. In Iceland, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir stated that "the worst option had been chosen"; Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon ruled out a third referendum, saying that "I think we're getting a very clear sign from this referendum, that further negotiations are ruled out. No use in trying that again." UK Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander described the decision as "obviously disappointing [and that] we tried to get a negotiated settlement. We have an obligation to get that money back and we will continue to pursue that until we do...We have a difficult financial position as a country and this money would help." He also said that the matter would be referred to the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority. The Dutch Minister of Finance Jan Kees de Jager also said the issue would be taken to the court.
- "Iceland to hold April referendum on overseas bank compensation plan". Monsters and Critics. 25 February 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- "Iceland government says not threatened by referendum defeat". MSN. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "English | Kosningavefur Dómsmála- og Mannréttindaráðuneytisins | English | Kosningavefur innanríkisráðuneytisins" (in (Icelandic)). Kosning.is. 6 March 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- (Dutch)"IJslandse parlement stemt in met Icesave-deal | nu.nl/economie | Het laatste nieuws het eerst op". Nu.nl. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- (Dutch)"President IJsland tekent Icesave-akkoord niet | nu.nl/economie | Het laatste nieuws het eerst op". Nu.nl. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- "57,7% would vote to accept Icesave" (in Icelandic).
- "Icelandic voters unlikely to approve Icesave deal". Reuters. 9 April 2011.
- "Referendum 9 April 2011". Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Icesavegesetz abgelehnt" (in German). Island-Blog. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Iceland rejects Icesave repayment deal". BBC News. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.