… Was the percentage of the Icelandic electorate that said NO to the Icesave bill yesterday.
The NO result was a foregone conclusion – the only thing of interest, really, was how large a margin would be by which the bill would be voted down. Mind you, at noon today, not all the votes were in because Grímsey island [in the north, the only place in Iceland that straddles the Arctic circle] was unreachable due to weather. But the result is pretty clear already and won’t change by much after this.
All the political leaders are on Silfur Egils as I write this bickering about who was responsible for the collapse and who failed in the Icesave debacle. The same old chestnuts being chewed over ad nauseum [YAWN!]. Predictably the opposition is basking in the glory of the big resounding NO that supposedly will send reverberations throughout the world, and demanding that the government resign. Steingrímur and Jóhanna are adamant that they will not; however, there is so much dissent in parliament right now that it looks like they may not even have a majority any more. A vote of no confidence would not surprise me. Also, as the UK and Holland have repeatedly said, there needs to be unity in parliament for negotiations to continue. Even though the opposition leaders claim they will continue backing the Icesave negotiations, it’s hard to see how they’re going to manage to work together, especially in light of their vehement disagreements at the moment.
Incidentally, the other figures from the referendum are as follows: 1.8 said YES, 4.7% turned in an empty ballot, and 0.3% ballots were invalid. Voter turnout was 63.6%, which has to be considered pretty good for a referendum. By comparison, the largest referendum in recent history, whether Ireland should ratify the Lisbon Treaty, garnered a turnout of around 58%.
Finally, last week I met a young journalism student from Norway, Jo Straube, who is here for a couple of months documenting the situation here in the Land of the Nice. He posts some excellent pictures on his blog Rapporter fra Sagaøya [Reports from the Saga Island], including this one, taken as the votes were counted last night. Worth 1,000 words.