Icelandic Pirates secure 3rd place in parliamentary elections - early results
Oct 30 2016 by Desiree Burns
An insurgent political coalition called Pirate Party, known for its computer hackers and anarchist candidates, expects to win the largest share of the vote and establish a new government that includes cryptocurrency bitcoin as a legal tender. According to polls the Piratar (Pirate) Party, an anti-authoritarian band of buccaneers that wants to shift power from government to people, is one of the front-runners in the October 29, election triggered by financial scandal in a country still recovering from economic catastrophe. Support increased by a whopping 43 per cent in April after the leak of the infamous Panama Papers - leaked documents which showed that several prominent Icelandic politicians were using offshore tax havens.
"We are on the cusp of a new wave of liberal politics, where corruption and abuse of power is challenged and systems reformed to serve the needs of the public, rather than the needs of powerful elites".
She also served as Chairman of the Pirate Party from 2014 to 2015, when they became the most popular party in Iceland.
That said, one of the main strengths of the Icelandic Pirate Party is its ability to mobilise and its organisational agility.
The Pirate Party reached a pre-election agreement with three other leftist and centrist opposition parties, including the Left-Greens, the Social Democrats and the Bright Future Movement, to form a coalition government.
Both the Independence Party and the Pirate Party have ruled out working together, however, though this could change during negotiations in the days to come.
Voting results are expected shortly after the polls close, but no party is expected to win a majority.
Part of a global anti-establishment trend typified by parties on the left such as Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, and on the right Germany's AfD and Britain's Ukip, the Pirates advocate an "unlimited right" for citizens to be involved in political decision-making, proposing new legislation and deciding on it in national referendums.
Still, the Pirates remain an unknown quantity to many voters. Health, welfare and education are core topics on which the Icelandic people will be basing their vote on Saturday.
The Pirate Party has provided an outlet for Icelanders' discontent, promising direct democracy and transparency.
"We really want them to win", she said, partly so that the next generation of U.S. lawmakers can draw inspiration from Iceland for a better type of government. "I think it will be a very feasible governmental choice", Ms Katrin Jakobsdottir, leader of the Left-Green movement told AFP.
Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to be above four percent this year thanks to tourism revenues and a recovering financial system.
A string of bankers were jailed, the failed banks were temporarily nationalized and then sold and foreign investors had to accept write-downs on their debt holdings.
A lawmaker since 2009, she is among the most politically experienced Pirates.
"I want change. I don't like everything that the Pirates are proposing, but if we want change, it's the best party", said labourer Einar Hannesson, 42.
Even if the Pirate Party were to end up in opposition, its likely to be big enough to exert a significant influence.
"Icelanders, like many Europeans and North Americans, have grown pretty tired of establishment politics, whether they're on the left or the right", he said.