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The Pirate Party are poised to make electoral history by becoming the first ‘Pirate’ movement to win a general election when Icelanders visit the ballot box on Saturday this week.
An opinion poll conducted by the University of Iceland has suggested that the Pirate Party are presently in poll position with 22.6% of the vote, which is 1.5% ahead of their nearest rivals the Independence Party, who are currently in government. If the polling data is accurate it would mean that the party would have between fifteen and twenty MPs in Iceland’s parliament. Both parties have ruled out working together in a coalition, with the Pirates claiming that:
All too often in Icelandic politics, electoral pledges are reneged on after elections. The parties forming a government hide behind compromises in coalition – enabling them to cheat voters again and again.
The Pirate Party received an impressive 5.1% of the vote at the last general election in 2013, which gave them three MPs.
To grow from three MPs to fifteen in just three years and potentially win a general election outright is an impressive and unprecedented achievement for a group of people labelled as ‘anarchists, libertarians, hackers, and computer geeks’ that didn’t even exist up until four years ago.
The Pirates do not define their party as either left or right. They claim to be a radical movement that combines the best features of both.
The party’s leader Birgitta Jónsdóttir, claims that she has no ambition to be the Prime Minister, citing the Pirate Party’s horizontal structure. She believes that:
People in Iceland are sick of corruption and nepotism.
Iceland is ruled by mafia-style families and their friends.
The election was called following the resignation of Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, following revelations in the Panama Papers that showed he had millions hidden away in an undeclared company in the British Virgin Islands. The news led to outrage amongst ordinary Icelanders who subsequently organised the largest protest in the country’s history.
The Pirate Party have successfully rode the crest of the anti-establishment wave that has gathered pace across Iceland and Europe since the banking crash of 2008 in a similar manner to Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece.
If the polls are to be believed, Icelanders will wake up on Sunday morning to radical new government that will implement an already crowd-sourced national constitution, plans to re-nationalise natural-resource industries, and a new governance framework that is rooted in direct democracy and transparency.