Upstart Pirate Party Senses Victory in Iceland Elections

By Lawless, Jill | The Scotsman, October 29, 2016 | Go to article overview

Upstart Pirate Party Senses Victory in Iceland Elections


Lawless, Jill, The Scotsman


The past few years have been stormy for Iceland, a country threatened by volcanoes and brought low by bankers. Now, Icelanders are thinking ofputtingtheirtrustin pirates.

The Pirate Party, an antiauthoritarian band of buccaneers thatwants toshift power from government to people, is one of the front-runners in an election triggered by financial scandal in a country still recovering from economic catastrophe in 2008.

Polls suggest the party - formed in 2012 by a group of anarchists, hackers and internet-freedom activists - is supported by as many as one in five voters and could emerge from today's parliamentary election at the head of a new government. Pirate policies - including public vetoes over new laws and strict safeguards for individuals' online and offline privacy - have dominated the election debate.

The party's sudden success has surprised Birgitta Jonsdottir, the most senior of three Pirate lawmakers in Iceland's 63-seat parliament, the Althingi - the party eschews formal leaders.

"We have managed to catch and capture the spirit of change with so many young people in Iceland," said Jonsdottir, who describes herself as a "poetician".

"We are very much about modernising our system, so that people don't fall through the cracks all the time," she said during an interview in a Pirate Party office bustling with election activity. …

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