Iceland pro-Bitcoin Pirate Party is set to have a role in the country’s next government in October, polls suggest, looking to gain around 25% of the national vote.
Iceland Pirates ‘Well Prepared’ for Government
The party, whose parliamentary group leader Birgitta Jónsdóttir said she would make the country a “Switzerland of bits” if it came to power, now has a shot at governance, experts say.
“It’s gradually dawning on us, what’s happening,” Birgitta Jónsdóttir, leader of the Pirates’ parliamentary group, told UK newspaper the Guardian. “It’s strange and very exciting. But we are well prepared now.”
A move to the left in Iceland has been several years in the making. However, the recent Panama Papers scandal damaged now-resigned prime minister David Gunnlaugsson so much that snap elections were called. These will be held in October, with Jónsdóttir sensing radical change is in the air.
“I look at us and I think, we are equipped to do this,” she added. “Actually, the fact we haven’t done it before and that we won’t have any old-school people telling us how, means we’ll do it more carefully. We will be doing things very differently.”
Iceland’s Pirate Party specifically seeks to effect structural change through the use of technology. It already has three seats in the country’s parliament, and in October will post a candidate in every political constituency.
Jónsdóttir: I Am Not The Leader
Jónsdóttir has even stated that ideologically she is not “the leader,” advocating leadership as a less centralized “circle of power.”
Say it with me: I am not the leader. Why is it so hard to understand that we operate within the circle of power 🙂 https://t.co/SqmgH4JiYa
— BirgittⒶ Jónsdóttir (@birgittaj) August 10, 2016
Additionally, it seeks to overhaul freedom of information, Jónsdóttir’s collusion with Julian Assange on the ‘Switzerland of bits’ concept speaking volumes about the nature of transparency which would be sought by a Pirate-majority government.
“Even if they don’t have clear policies in many areas, people are genuinely drawn to their principles of transforming democracy and improving transparency,” University of Iceland political scientist Heida Önnudóttir commented on the current status quo.
However, with a projected vote tally of 20-25% (18-20 elected members of parliament), the party could see itself enter into a coalition with the establishment, something which it says it is open to doing, but the feeling may not be mutual.
“…Their success will depend on what they can really deliver, how much they make of their first term,” Önnudóttir added.
From a financial perspective, the shame surrounding Icelandic banks’ role in the 2008 financial crises, together with the tax revelations of its current government unearthed by Panama, suggest Pirate policy will be swift.
Iceland is currently one of only a handful of countries which have banned Bitcoin outright, its central bank stating that “it is prohibited to engage in foreign exchange trading with the electronic currency bitcoin, according to the Icelandic Foreign Exchange Act.”
What do you think about the future of Iceland with a Pirate Party government or coalition? Let us know in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of vice.com, ibtimes.co.uk