Former Iceland PM trial splits nation

Slightly more people in Iceland were happy to see their former prime minister go on trial for negligence over the banking crash than were unhappy, new survey results reveal.

Participants were asked whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied at parliament’s vote to throw out a resolution by Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson to cancel the Landsdómur trial before it began. The results of the Pulse of the Nation poll by Gallup suggest that 43 percent of people were satisfied with the vote which effectively allowed the trial proceed and 41 percent were dissatisfied. Nearly 16 percent of respondents said their feelings were neutral.

The near even split in opinion belies an increasingly loud backlash against the trial led primarily by Independence Party supporters, saying it is nothing more than a political witch hunt by the now-powerful-left against the former leader of the right. Although the case is not nearly over yet, many media commentators already feel Geir H. Haarde is unlikely to be found guilty. But supporters of the trial argue the process itself is cathartic for the nation and that a lot of new evidence and testimony have come to light as a result.

According to RÚV, those with higher levels of education were more likely to be happy with the Alþingi vote not to cancel the trial. The opinion of respondents also differed, unsurprisingly, along party lines; with Independence Party voters the least satisfied with Alþingi’s decision and Left Green Movement supporters the most satisfied.

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