Iceland’s anti-establishment Pirate Party is on course to shake up one of the world’s oldest democracies in a parliamentary election on Saturday.
For the first time, it could form part of a ruling coalition, as many voters remain bitter about the 2008 financial crisis and the perceived arrogance of an elite class. Icelandic journalist Hjortur Gudmundsson explains what is at stake.
Who are the Icelandic Pirates?
Launched in 2012, they were inspired by the Swedish Pirate Party, which wants more freedom from copyright restrictions on the internet, more political transparency and more protection of citizens’ data.
The Pirates have been the main channel for distrust in mainstream politics in Iceland, which has just over 330,000 people.
The Pirates’ election manifesto says the party aims to “ensure that the wealth generated by Iceland’s natural resources is justly distributed”.
They also want free healthcare for all Icelanders and “active public participation and supervision of those in power”.
It is a rather loose alliance of people who are mainly united in their opposition to traditional politics and the system. Their rise in the polls has also attracted people who eye a possibility to advance their own careers by joining them.