Iceland has historically been an anomaly within the Nordic region, leaning politically more to the right than its neighbours Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden – countries that favour social democratic governments – but after being decimated by the global recession in 2008, the island’s citizens started to shift left. In 2009, Iceland elected the world’s first openly gay Head of State, but Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir’s Social Democratic Party was ousted in the follow-up election by a coalition of the conservative Progressive and Independence parties in 2013.
The country’s recent swing back to the right seems temporary, however, with the current coalition haemorrhaging support. Instead of the tide turning the way of the Social Democratic party, though, there has been a massive surge towards the Pirate Party.
Iceland’s Pirate Party currently has the support of around 35% of voters, according to the latest Gallup poll, putting the Pirates ahead of both coalition parties combined, which collectively has around 33% support (11% for the Progressive Party and 21% for the Independence party).
The Pirate Party was born out of the Pirate movement – the same ethos that birthed infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay – that emerged around a decade ago in Europe. It is marked by its strong left-wing stance on maintaining civil liberties and human rights, while opposing oppressive copyright laws, state surveillance, and capitalist influence over governments. If voted into power, The Pirate Party supports granting NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum and citizenship.
Does the Pirate Party have a chance of taking power in Iceland? It’s too early to say. The next Icelandic election isn’t until April 2017, and a lot can change in two years, but this staggering and unexpected swing towards the Pirate Party could point towards a more progressive future for the habitually conservative country.
Thank you Daily Kos for providing us with this information.