Iceland parliament votes ‘yes’ on Icesave repayment bill

Althingi, Iceland’s national parliament, has voted in favour of a bill that would repay Britain and the Netherlands for money lost when Landsbanki collapsed along with its high interest Icesave accounts in the two countries.

44 MPs supported the bill, 16 opposed it and three did not vote. With support from both coalition parties and the largest opposition party, the bill was comfortably passed. An addendum that parliament should send the bill to a public vote was rejected.

The final hurdle for the bill is the Icelandic president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.

Parliamentary decisions can be vetoed by the president. This has only happened twice before — both times by the current president. He vetoed the last Icesave bill, which was then roundly defeated in the subsequent public vote.

This third bill offers much better repayment terms and the president has indicated he is happier with it. However, 30,000 people have now signed a petition asking him to send this bill to a public referendum as well. Grimsson has refused to speak publicly about his upcoming decision while the bill was in Althingi.

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