Leftwing Icelanders hope to oust conservative PM

Icelanders voted in a close general election on Saturday marked by deep distrust of the scandal-hit political class despite a thriving economy, with the left hoping to oust the conservative prime minister Bjarni Benediktsson.

Polls closed at 9pm local time (10pm GMT) with the final results not expected until Sunday morning. But efforts to form a coalition government could take days, weeks or even months, as nine parties battle for seats in the 63-seat parliament.

Benediktsson, of the conservative Independence party, called Saturday’s election – Iceland’s fourth since 2008 and second in a year – after a junior member of the three-party centre-right coalition quit last month over a legal controversy involving the PM’s father.

Opinion polls published on Friday by public broadcaster RUV and the daily Morgunbladid showed the Independence party could win just 17 seats.

The rival Left-Green Movement and its potential partners – the Social Democratic Alliance and the

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