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Icelanders to vote no on debt deal

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Look up what Birgitta Jonsdottir has to say.

Flashback: Iceland stares into Icesave abyss | EU executive recommends fast-track membership for Iceland | No solution in dispute over Iceland deposits | Iceland sets date for Icesave vote | Iceland says IMF aid likely delayed | Iceland blocks central bank debt repayment deal | Icelandic parliament rolls over, votes for EU membership | Iceland to be fast-tracked into the EU | Iceland’s government collapses | In Iceland, the heat is on | Police fire pepper spray at Iceland protesters | Icelanders storm central bank in protest | Iceland inflation soars to 17.1% | 5 injured during protest in Iceland over economic meltdown

Simon Bowers, the Guardian
March 5, 2010

Icelandic voters are tomorrow expected to deliver a landslide “no” in a referendum over unpopular legislation to repay Britain and the Netherlands after the two nations stepped in to guarantee deposits at failed online bank Icesave.

Polls suggest about 75% of people are expected to vote down the Icesave agreement in tomorrow’s ballot, called after the country’s president refused to accept a deal narrowly passed by the Icelandic parliament.

A no-vote would set Iceland on a potentially disastrous collision course with the international financial markets and further sour relations with the British and the Dutch, who are owed £2.35bn and €1.33bn (£1.2bn) respectively.

Credit ratings agency Moody’s last month warned it might downgrade Iceland’s debt to junk status, as other agencies have, if the latest agreement was defeated in the vote. A failure to reach a deal with Britain and the Netherlands would freeze a $4.75bn (£3.16bn) programme of emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund, neighbouring Nordic states and others.

Despite weeks of diplomacy, an alternative repayment plan acceptable to all countries has yet to emerge, though recent days have seen signs of a possible breakthrough, with talk of Iceland being granted a two-year interest holiday.

Finance minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said the idea had been put on the negotiating table, but there remained other outstanding issues to resolve. “You might question how meaningful voting is, but we are where we are,” said Sigfusson.

Having been the driving political force behind the unpopular existing agreement, with fresh negotiations afoot even he has struggled in recent days to make the case for a yes vote.

“Many will welcome their chance to express their dislike of the whole Icesave affair,” he concedes. “Most people will probably protest the whole affair, this terrible incident. Obviously people are disappointed about it. There is never going to be a happy ending to this sad story.”

Leftwing politicians and grassroots activists, some from the same left-green party as Sigfusson, have sought to cast the Icesave referendum as a broader rejection of Iceland’s IMF pact, or even as an ideological protest against international capitalism.

Ogmundur Jonasson, who resigned as health minister last autumn in protest over Icesave and IMF strictures, said: “This is a dispute between people and capital, property rights and human rights. Maybe we need a little bit of revolution – this is why many people in finance dislike the referendum, because it is symbolic. It is people questioning the rights of capital.”

Jonasson insists Iceland’s 315,000-strong population cannot afford the debts being heaped upon it by foreign lending institutions. He points to closing hospital wards, rising unemployment, home foreclosures and a 30% decline in Icelanders’ disposable income.

Grassroots leader Birgitta Jonsdottir, a direct action campaigner who was elected to parliament last year, describes an intertwined package of Icesave, IMF and other bailout loans as “economic warfare”.

She says Icelanders are furious with the British chancellor, Alistair Darling, for responding to the Icelandic banking meltdown by placing Landsbanki and the finance ministry on a list of “financially sanctioned regimes”, alongside Burma, North Korea and al-Qaida.

She said: “I think it is something the British should apologise for.” Jonsdottir believes Iceland could have escaped meltdown but for this move by Darling.

A long-delayed Icelandic Truth Commission report scheduled to be published within days is expected to give a forensic account of the events leading up to the country’s 2008 banking meltdown. The 2,000-page document will contain chapters on both the Icesave affair and Iceland’s pitiful depositor guarantee fund.

Meanwhile, Sigfusson struggles to contain his frustration at popular opposition to Icesave proposals. “These delays are not without a price. It is not free to keep spending time struggling with Icesave. It creates great uncertainty and delays economic advancement.

“Maybe there is some misunderstanding that this can be voted out of existence. We still need to deal with the issue. It doesn’t disappear.”

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| The Bush gang’s parting gift: a final, frantic looting of public wealth | IMF may need to “print money”, act as “world’s central bank” as crisis spreads | Morgan Chase Exec Brags Bailout Is for Takeovers, Restructuring, Not Lending | Draft letter calls on IMF to play critical role in financial crisis | Ottawa to guarantee interbank lending | More cash needed to save economy: Bernanke | Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout | German parliament backs bail-out | Regulator says brokers failed on ABCP, sets new guidelines | US Bailout Cost Heads Towards $5 Trillion | Market Euphoria Dissipates | Loonie leaps, then reverses course | $25B credit backstop for banks ‘not a bailout’: Harper | Brown wants ‘global’ bank support | US considers following British example of taking stakes in banks | New World Order: Global co-operation, nationalisation and state intervention — all in one day | TSX closes up 226 points in wild day after rate cuts | Federal Reserve Moves to Monetize Commercial Paper Debts | Stocks recoup some losses after markets hit by panic selling | Star column blames ‘Capitalism’ for market woes, offers false choice: Authoritarianism or Socialism | Bank of Canada greases financial system with $12B in new cash | Stock markets drop despite bailout | Why Paulson’s Plan is a Fraud | Representatives Were Threatened With Martial Law In America Over Bailout Bill | Congress Rejects (First) Bail-Out Plan | Congressman Ron Paul: Bailout Will Destroy Dollar, World Economy | Paul Martin calls for ‘global solution’ | Markets sink as woes spread | UK banking shares plunge as crisis deepens | Congressman Ron Paul Schools Fed Chairman Bernanke on the Bailout Plan | Bailout is “petty cash”, Inflation is the Federal Reserve’s real crime | Private Federal Reserve Makes Power Grab as Bush, McCain Urge Congress to Approve Plan | Canadian Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal in ABCP case | Last major investment banks in U.S. change status | U.S., British market regulators ban short-selling | Next Federal Reserve bank bailout round could cost taxpayers 1$ Trillion Dollars | Bank of Canada piles on in global inflationary swindle | Central banks continue inflating global economy | Central Banks Move to Transfer Wealth from Taxpayers to Banks | Crisis on Wall St. as firms collapse | Goldman-Sachs Alumni Hold Reins of Financial System | Frontrunners emerge in scramble to save another major bank | Lehman Brothers on Verge of Collapse, Wall Street Fears | US Treasury nationalizes Freddie Mae, Fannie Mac | Cities Debate Giving Away Public Infrastructure to Bankers | Court Grants Big Banks Immunity from Lawsuits over Derivatives Losses | Bush Calls for New Highway Tolls, More Private Funding of Roads | US mortgage firm bailout includes rider clause to expand police state: all credit card transactions now to be reported to IRS | Global ‘liberalization’ illusion under threat. Economist calls for world economic regime, Keynesian saviour. Irony? | Federal Reserve cites global stakes in Fannie and Freddie rescue | Financial ’super cop’ role for Fed | What Really Killed Bear Stearns? | Soros points out regulated markets fail to operate on market fundamentals, calls for more regulation | Competition study calls for lowered barriers to foreign ownership, bank mergers | Massive overhaul urged on foreign investment in airlines, media, and banks | Bilderberg Seeks Bank Centralization Agenda | Secretive Bilderberg Group Reverses Policy, Releases Press Release and Attendance List | Banks face “new world order,” consolidation: report

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10 Responses to “Icelanders to vote no on debt deal”

  1. statism watch » Blog Archive » Frustrated Icelanders vent rage by voting no in referendum Says:

    [...] Comments Peter Moss (1 comments) on Oil Companies Support Global Warming Alarmists, Not Skepticsstatism watch » Blog Archive » Icelanders to vote no on debt deal on Banks find gaping loophole in Obama financial reformsstatism watch » Blog [...]

  2. statism watch » Blog Archive » Obama scolds Wall Street for fighting reform, pushes new regulation package Says:

    [...] selling shares in LCBO, Hydro One | Frustrated Icelanders vent rage by voting no in referendum | Icelanders to vote no on debt deal | Ontario in no rush to sell Crown assets, minister says | Athens erupts as Greek austerity plan [...]

  3. statism watch » Blog Archive » Standard & Poor’s downgrade Greek credit rating to junk status Says:

    [...] selling shares in LCBO, Hydro One | Frustrated Icelanders vent rage by voting no in referendum | Icelanders to vote no on debt deal | Ontario in no rush to sell Crown assets, minister says | Athens erupts as Greek austerity plan [...]

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