November 2, 2008 / 1:24 PM / 11 years ago

Iceland's ruling Independence Party losing support

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - Iceland’s ruling party, struggling to cope with a meltdown of the island’s economy, is losing support from voters, according to a poll published in the daily Morgunbladid on Sunday.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde’s Independence Party, in power for 17 years, polled 22.3 percent in the survey by Gallup. Its coalition partner, the Social Democratic Alliance, registered at 36.9 percent.

The prime minister has said the collapse of the banking system could eat up as much as 1.1 trillion crowns ($9.15 billion), or 85 percent of 2007 gross domestic product.

In a Gallup/Morgunbladid poll a month ago, the Independence Party had 28.4 percent, the Social Democratic Alliance 31.2 percent and the main opposition party, the Left Greens 25.3 percent.

In the most recent survey, the opposition Left Greens polled 26.9 percent.

In the survey, pollsters asked 1,200 voters aged 18-75 between October 27-29 October which party they would vote for if elections were held today.

A national vote in 2007 gave the Independents 36.6 percent, the Social Democratic Alliance 26.8 percent, the Left Greens 14.3 percent, the Progressives 11.7 percent and the Liberals 7.3 percent, according to figures published on the National Electoral Commission’s website.

The next parliamentary election is scheduled for 2011.

The poll also showed that 60.6 percent of the population want an early vote.

On Saturday, 1,000 people marched through central Reykjavik and joined a rally in front of the Althing Building — Iceland’s parliament — demanding a new vote, the resignation of the cabinet and the dismissal of the central bank’s governing board.

This was the third Saturday rally in as many weeks.

Organizers of the rally told state television they plan similar demonstrations every Saturday until their demands had been met.

In response to a question about Iceland adopting the Euro, nearly 80 percent were in favor while 20 percent were against.

Editing by Sami Aboudi

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