Iceland’s Pirate Party has won 14.5 percent of the vote in the country’s general election, topping its forecasts but falling short of a majority.
Pirate Party: Result ‘Top Of The Range’
The much-championed movement gained seven seats in the Icelandic parliament, more than trebling its presence for the next term to ten. Until the weekend, it held only three seats.
— BirgittⒶ Jónsdóttir (@birgittaj) October 30, 2016
Polls leading up to the election placed the Pirates at between 18 and 30% of the vote, with a top score likely leading to a coalition-based majority in parliament.
Speaking after the results came through, the party’s leading light Birgitta Jónsdóttir struck a realistic tone.
“Our internal predictions showed 10 to 15 percent, so this is at the top of the range,” she explained to Reuters. “We knew that we would never get 30 percent.”
Iceland’s troubled incumbent government and this year’s election campaign has been of special interest to the cryptocurrency community. As part of its mantra, the Pirate Party advocates use of Bitcoin and implies the relaxation of Iceland’s hard-and-fast ban on its use.
Jónsdóttir previously referred to a desire to turn the country into a “Switzerland of bits” should the party gain control.
The 14.5% result suggests that the Pirates will nonetheless wield noticeable power in coalition with other minority parties. The election produced other surprise results, with the Progressive Party losing 11 seats and brand new Regeneration party entering the political arena with 7 seats and 10.4% of the vote.
The most recent updates suggest the close-run contest is producing problems for the winning parties, with the prospect of complex coalition talks in store.
Jónsdóttir ‘Hacking’ Iceland Politics
Jónsdóttir’s language meanwhile signals a clear contrast to the establishment more than ever. In the days prior to the election, she likened her role of guiding the Pirates to political power to that of a hacker. (She previously expressed her distaste for being referred to as ‘leader’ of the party.)
“I definitely approach this job from the perspective of the hacker,” she said. “I don’t want to learn what isn’t possible, because as soon as I know about limitations, I start to respect them. It’s better to pretend you don’t know the limitations, so you can break them.”
Regret at the results meanwhile is by no means confined to one section of society. Young voters who came out in force to support the Pirates have been vocal about the need for Iceland’s political situation to change radically.
“I’m really sad,” one student told UK newspaper the Guardian. “This is our next generation that is taking the country to the next level. But they keep voting for the criminals we have here.”
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