Icelanders go to the polls on Icesave repayment deal

9th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

About 230,000 Icelandic voters went to the polls Saturday to approve or reject a renegotiated deal to compensate Britain and the Netherlands over the 2008 collapse of Icesave bank.

The latest opinion polls put the "no" vote on the 3.9-billion-euro (5.6-billion-dollar) deal slightly in the lead.

The Netherlands and Britain spent this amount on compensating about 340,000 of their citizens who lost money when Icesave, an online bank, went under at the height of the global financial crisis.

The latest deal, laboriously negotiated between the three nations over more than two years, is considered more favourable to Iceland than a previous accord rejected in a January 2010 referendum by 93 percent of Icelanders.

It will allow Iceland to repay the debt gradually until 2046 at a 3.0 percent interest rate for the 1.3 billion euros it owes The Netherlands and at a 3.3-percent rate for the rest it owes Britain.

The amount represents about 12,000 euros per citizen of the 320,000-strong island nation, before interest.

Polling stations opened at 9:00 am (0700 GMT) and will close at 10:00 pm. The results should be announced by Sunday morning.

© 2011 AFP

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