President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson just announced in a press conference that he will not sign the new Icesave legislation but instead send it to a national referendum. He reasoned that the majority of the nation wants to vote on the legislation as indicated in recent polls.
The president also mentioned that only a slight majority of MPs voted against a referendum on Icesave in parliament when the new Icesave legislation was passed last week and that a large proportion of voters had signed a petition urging him to make this move.
When a reporter asked the president whether he was not undermining the authority of the parliament by refusing to sign a legislation for which a strong majority of MPs, 44 against 16, were in favor, he said this was not the case.
In Iceland, the president is intended to be more of a symbolic than a political leader and before Grímsson took office, no other president ever vetoed legislations.
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