Icy Icelanders

Icelanders have rejected a referendum asking them to repay the $5.3 billion given to them by the Netherlands and U.K. to save the country from defaulting in the wake of the financial collapse.

Icelanders have rejected a referendum asking them to repay the $5.3 billion given to them by the Netherlands and U.K. to save the country from defaulting in the wake of the financial collapse. "Some 93.1 per cent of voters cast ballots opposing the deal, partial results showed after 32 per cent of ballots were ounted, RUV public broadcaster, which compiles all electoral statistics, said. Only 1.6 per cent of voters so far voted "yes" to the Icesave deal. 'Initial figures indicate clearly that the December amendment to the Icesave legislation of August 2009 will be repealed,' the government said in a statement just minutes after polling stations closed. Icelanders were asked to vote on whether the country should honour an agreement to repay the UK and the Netherlands $5.3 bn. This would be to compensate them for money they paid to 340,000 of their citizens hit by the collapse of Icesave in 2008. Observers said an Icelandic refusal to repay the money could block the remaining half of a $2.1bn International Monetary Fund rescue package, as well as its EU and euro currency membership talks. It could also damage Iceland's credit rating and destabilise the government, which negotiated the agreement in the first place."

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