Brown eyes early elections

LONDON - After a month in the job, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is enjoying a measure of popular support that is the envy of his rivals and has sparked speculation about an early general election, probably as early as October.

LONDON - After a month in the job, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is enjoying a measure of popular support that is the envy of his rivals and has sparked speculation about an early general election, probably as early as October.

Ever since the shock start to his premiership with the attempted car bombings in London and Glasgow at the end of June, and the widespread summer floods that followed, Britons have been impressed with Brown's hands-on leadership style, according to opinion polls.

"Fewer soundbites, more substance," is how The Independent newspaper summed up the Brown approach.

Brown, the son of a Scottish church minister, has himself said his politics are led by his "moral compass" and that the age of "celebrity politicians" is over.

However, the extent of the so-called Brown bounce, which has placed the Labour Party near the 40percent mark, its highest rating since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, has come as a surprise even to experienced political observers.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party confirmed yesterday that Brown had ordered a review of the party's organisation and finances and instructed allies to "begin raising funds".

"I can confirm that the party has been put on alert for an early election that could take place as soon as this autumn," vice chairman Martin Salter told The Times newspaper.

Already before the changeover from the Blair- era to Brown, opinion polls showed that most British voters favoured an early election, if only to lend "democratic legitimacy" to the Brown takeover. - Sapa-DPA

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