High approval rating recorded for Iceland’s coalition government

A recent poll conducted by the Capacent Gallup group indicates that Iceland’s current government is experiencing a high degree of voter approval. Sources in Reykjavik say that the coalition government voted into power in May of this year enjoys an approval rating of 83 per cent.

The coalition government is the result of an alliance between the right-wing Independence Party and the left-wing Social Democratic Alliance. The previously ruling partner, the Progressive Party, experienced its worst election in 90 years. On May 12 when votes were counted, the Progressive and Independence Parties scraped into victory with 32 seats, whilst the opposition held 31.

On May 17 the Progressive Party and their partners the Independence Party stepped down and the Independence Party made a new pact with the Social Democratic Alliance, the largest party in the opposition. Geir Haarde, of the Independence party, continued as the country’s Prime Minister and former mayor of Reykjvavik and leader of the Social Democrats, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, became Foreign Minister.

Although Gallup has been polling the electorate for many years, they have never before measured such a positive response to a government.  The previous government, which was first elected in 1995 and which renewed its mandate in 1999, only ever polled as high as 75 per cent.

Icelandic radio reported that despite general public approval of the government, there are several issues which voters remain unsatisfied. In particular, only half of those polled agreed with the ministers selected by the Social Democratic Alliance and four out of ten people agreed with those selected by the Independent Party.