After Panama Papers, Iceland Could Be Taken Over by Pirates
As fallout continues around the world over the Panama Papers scandal, the small island nation of Iceland could be on the verge of being taken over by pirates — or at the very least their political arm.
A new poll conducted by media companies Fréttablaðið, Stöð 2 and Vísir found the fantastically named Pirate Party at 43% popular support, Iceland Monitor reported. In Iceland's multiparty system, Pirate's chief rivals lagged far behind: The Independence Party polled at 21.6%, the Left-Green Movement took 11.2% and the Social Democratic Alliance took 10.2%.
The Progressive Party, whose leader Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson was forced to resign Tuesday after he was implicated in the Panama Papers leak, came in at a mere 7.9%. Another party, cheerily known as Bright Future, polled at 3.8%, Iceland Monitor reported.
A collective of activists started the Icelandic wing of the Pirate Party, an international movement, in 2012, according to the Independent. The party stands for increased civil rights, internet freedom and a 35-hour work week.
"The Pirate Party is a young international political movement that fights for real transparency and responsibility in politics, easier access to information, direct democracy, freedom of information and copyright reform," the group's website read. "For a long while there has been a real need for a new political party that puts issues like information, technology, privacy and freedom of speech at the forefront of its policy."
Much of the party's recent success is attributable to the country's experience in 2008's Great Recession, which saw most Icelandic banks fail and numerous officials sent to jail. "People are obviously tired of being promised the world ahead of elections, only to see political parties negotiate among themselves and back away from their promises," party co-founder Birgitta Jonsdottir told the Australian Financial Review, the Independent reported.
Though some may think a "Pirate Party" is a farce, its influence is anything but. The party did well enough in 2013 to secure three seats in the country's parliament, known as the Althingi, and its strong polling has been consistent, long predating the Panama Papers revelations. If current numbers hold, it stands to greatly increase its parliamentary numbers in the 2017 elections.