Apr 18, 2011
In a referendum on April 9th, Iceland voted for the second time to reject paying off debt left from the bankruptcy of Icesave Bank, part of Iceland’s Landsbanki.
A little more than a year ago, the population massively rejected the first plan, what the government called an “amicable” agreement among banks in Holland and Great Britain, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
The second reimbursement plan would have returned 5.8 billion dollars lost by British and Dutch banks, as well as big and some small speculators, enticed by 5% to 6% interest rates.
What the government coalition of Social Democrats and Left Greens wanted the population to pay back was $17,000 per inhabitant over 30 years. Since the bank went under, unemployment in Iceland rose from 1% to 8.6% and many families lost their homes.
The Icelandic population clearly said NO to their members of parliament and the administration. They voted against the pay-back despite fake polls showing a majority supported the government’s plan, and despite the threats of “economic and political chaos,” invoked by the Icelandic prime minister. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF, had the nerve to say, “There are international obligations that countries have to respect.... Iceland, like other countries, can’t be immunized against what was done by its financial sector.”
After the vote, the banks owed the money claimed they would take Iceland to court.
The Icelandic population, without so much as a whiff of the phenomenal profits taken by the Icelandic, British and Dutch banks, has just given a well-placed kick to the behinds of officials and bankers.