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Icelandic opposition leads opinion polls


Iceland's centre-right opposition is leading polls ahead of elections on April 27, four years after it was punished by voters for plunging the country into a financial maelstrom, with a fresh survey Thursday putting it on top.

The Gallup poll, published by daily Frettabladid, showed the centrist-agrarian Progressive Party leading the race with 30 percent of the vote if elections were held today.

The conservative Independence Party garnered 27 percent of voter intentions.

The two parties were the big losers of the 2009 election when Iceland was hit by a financial crisis that sparked allegations of crony capitalism and lax regulation of the banking system.

The ruling social democratic Alliance Party and coalition partner the Left-Green Movement lagged their two main rivals as the survey predicted they would get just 14 percent and eight percent, respectively, in an election.

Two other parties looked set to cross the five percent election threshold: the pro-European Bright Future Party (seven percent) and the Pirate Party (six percent).

Political science professor Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson told broadcaster Channel 2 the social democrats were likely to return to the opposition, where they have spent most mandate periods since the island nation gained independence in 1944.

"But many voters are still undecided," he said.

A total of 1,200 were polled in the survey.