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Iceland goes to polls in general election

Iceland goes to polls in general election
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Voters in Iceland are set to hit the polling booths to decide the next government. Social Democrat Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir leads a centre-left coalition. But her cabinet is widely expected to suffer defeat at the hands of a coalition between the conservative Independence Party and the Progressives.

She is retiring and many analysts are predicting a triumphant return for the centre-right on pledges to ease off deep austerity cuts. It would be a dramatic turnaround after they were ousted in the wake of Iceland’s banking fiasco in 2008.

This would leave the Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson and Progressives Party head Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson in a contest for Prime Minister.

But whoever wins the title, they’re united in their stance on Europe. Iceland is seeking EU membership, but the centre-right believe that as party to the Schengen travel area and current free trade agreements with the EU, there might be no need to bring the country under the yoke of EU regulations.

The 63-seat parliament will be decided by only around a quarter of a million eligible voters.