Pirate Party makes significant gains in Iceland elections

Icelandic elections, provoked by the unexpected departure of former Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson in April over links to the Panama Papers, produced stunning gains for the Nordic state’s Pirate Party in its national assembly, the Althingi, on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Election results have revealed the Pirates picked up seven seats, up from three prior to the poll and bring its party’s representation in the Althingi to a total of 10 representatives.

Espousing civil rights, a commitment to transparency, net neutrality, free health care, strong copyright and patent laws, information privacy and direct government, the Pirates emerged in 2012 by disaffected members of Iceland’s The Movement Party.

Pirate leader, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an anti-establishment, left-wing activist, told Reuters she was “very satisfied” with the election gains.

“Our internal predictions showed 10 to 15 percent, so this is at the top of the range. We knew that we would never get 30 percent,” Ms. Jonsdottir said following Pirate gains.

Swept from power, the ruling Progressive Party saw its majority shrink from 19 seats in parliament to eight.

Led by Bjarni Benediktsson, the Independence Party earned small dividends, two seats, but assumed control of the Althingi with 21 of the 63-seat parliament.

Although the Pirate Party has quickly gained recognition since its founding in 2012, critics charge the group’s membership counts numerous political novices and their radical policies may frighten foreign investors.

Still, though, despite ruling out cooperating with Independence, Jónsdóttir is said to have hopes of building a coalition of left and centrist parties, Greens and Progressives among them, to blunt Independence rule over the Althingi.


[BBC] [Photo courtesy International Business Times]