Iceland is one of the few countries where the party already holds seats, and it has its eyes on the presidency of the Parliament and a constituent assembly to review Iceland’s Constitution.
Pirates Gain Support
Although the party formed just four years ago, its popularity in Iceland has swelled for its promotion of privacy rights and personal freedoms, according to the Free Thought Project.
Should the “Pirates” win on October 29, Edward Snowden has been offered the safe haven of Icelandic citizenship.
The party has been in ascendancy since April, when the release of the Panama Papers revealed Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson of the Progressive Party and his wife held ownership in an offshore investment company allowing them to profit from the big banks’ downfall.
While Gunnlaugsson dismissed the profiteering as an old clerical error, Icelanders took to the streets to demand his ouster. Since that time, the Pirates Party has led in the polls periodically.
A Foothold In Iceland
Iceland is the first country with Pirate Party presence to elect members to government positions — two members serve in Parliament.
In the current election, which is being held six months earlier than expected, the Pirates are currently running neck-and-neck with the Independence Party.
Two polls published last week indicate the ruling Progressive Party cannot expect more than 9% of the vote, while its coalition Independence Party partner holds 21% to 23% of the vote.
The combined maximum of 33% is a far short of the 51,1% they claimed in the 2013 general elections.
Polls suggest that the Pirate Party is second in the polls with approximately 21% to 22,5% of the vote, a hefty jump from 5% in 2013. Between April and March, The Pirates were the party of choice for up to 40% of the electorate.
Parties Vie For Power
Complicating matters for the Pirates Party is the Left Green Party under former Minister of Education Katrín Jakobsdóttir, hoping for 19% of the votes.
The Social Democratic Alliance has seen its support tumble to 6.5% while the pro-EU Bright Future party has 6% to 7.4%.
Besides seeking to make bitcoin legal tender, the Pirates want to weaken copy-right rules, decriminalize drugs, lower the voting age, and offer Snowden asylum. Party leader Birgitta Jonsdottir is a former Wikileaks spokesperson, a teacher and a published poet.
The elections are taking place under the shadow of an expected standoff with vulture funds, funds that invest in debt considered to be very weak or in default.
The government has suspended the service of €1,3bn in government bonds owned by Discovery Capital Management, Eaton Vance, Autonomy Capital and Loomis Sayles.
Iceland sought a voluntary restructuring of the funds in June, but the vulture funds are holding out. The newly elected government will have to decide whether or not to pay.
One Icelander noted on Reddit that bitcoin is not anywhere on the Pirates “to do” list at the moment. The fact that some members of the Pirate Party hold a number of bitcoins raises some ethical questions if they are the ones pushing for it, the poster noted.
The Reddit poster nonetheless supports the Pirate Party.
Images from Shutterstock and Twitter/PiratePartyIS.