Iceland polling stations open for Icesave referendum

REYKJAVIK: Iceland polling stations opened Saturday for a referendum on a hugely unpopular bank collapse repayment deal for Britain and the Netherlands, with surveys and even the government saying a no vote is inevitable.

The first results were expected to start trickling in shortly after polling stations close at 2200 GMT, with final results later the same night.

The issue is whether Iceland should honour an agreement to repay Britain and the Netherlands 3.9 billion euros (5.3 billion dollars).

This would be to compensate them for money they paid to 340,000 of their citizens hit by the October 2008 collapse of Icesave online bank.

According to the latest opinion poll, three quarters of voters will vote to spurn the agreement, which was passed by parliament in late December.

It went to a referendum after President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson refused to sign it into law because of the public opposition.