'No' vote set to win Icesave referendum: poll

7th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A renegotiated compensation deal with Britain and the Netherlands over the collapsed Icesave bank could be rejected by Icelanders in a weekend referendum, a poll showed Thursday.

The poll published and conducted by daily Frettabladid showed that out of those who had already made up their mind, 54.8 percent would vote against the deal, with 45.2 percent in favour.

Out of the 800 people interviewed, 24 percent were undecided.

Thursday's poll is the first ahead of Saturday's referendum that shows the "No" side winning. Four previous polls had shown the deal would get through.

Icelandic negotiators have been struggling for more than two years to reach an accord on how to repay Britain and the Netherlands the 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion) they spent compensating around 340,000 of their citizens hit by the collapse of online bank Icesave in October 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis.

The latest deal -- considered much more favourable to Iceland than a previous version rejected by 93 percent of Icelanders in another referendum in early 2010 -- was agreed in December and voted through by nearly 70 percent of Iceland's MPs.

It would allow Iceland to repay very gradually until 2046 at a 3.0-3.3-percent interest rate and only needed the president's stamp of approval before being turned into law.

However, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he would again put the bill to a referendum as he had with the initial version.

© 2011 AFP

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