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The Pirate Party is Now the Most Popular Political Group in Iceland

The left wing group is the first party to ever overtake the country’s conservatives.

Photo by fdecomite via Wikimedia Commons

Avast ye mateys! According to a new poll out of Iceland, the Pirate Party has now become the country’s most popular political entity.

Iceland Review reports that the left-wing group had the support of 23.9 percent of those voters polled, eking out the conservative Independence Party’s 23.4 percent. This is significant, not only because such a scrappy group could rise to the top of Iceland’s political landscape, but because the Independence Party has never before been surpassed in popularity in the entire history of Iceland’s republic.

Iceland’s Pirate Party was one of several groups that grew from the movement surrounding the Swedish Pirate Party, founded on principles of freedom of expression, direct democracy, an open web, and copyright reform. The Swedish Piratpartiet, first of these political organizations, took its name from the Piratbyrån, a sort of think tank dedicated to the free exchange of information and the end of current intellectual property laws. The founders of the notorious Pirate Bay BitTorrent tracker, historically one of the web’s biggest file-sharing hubs, were active in the early Piratbyrån, and their influence contributed to much of the Pirate Parties’ early rhetoric.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, captain of Iceland's Pirate Party. Photo by Pirátská strana via Flickr

The Iceland Pirates were the first of these groups to make it to a national parliament, snatching up three seats in the 2013 elections. But according to Visir, an Icelandic newspaper, if elections were held right now, these freewheeling buccaneers would do much, much better:

According to the MMR´s survey the Pirate Party and the Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) would get 16 members of the Parliament each, The Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) 10, The Left Green Party (Vinstri grænir) 7, Bright Future (Björt framtíð) 7 and The Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn) 7.

“To be completely honest, I don’t know why we enjoy so much trust, we are all just as surprised, thankful and take this as a sign of mistrust towards conventional politics,” Birgitta Jonsdottir, captain (ha!) of the Pirate Party, told Visir. “Traditional politics have not shown progress and people are tired of waiting for change. It is good that people are rejecting corruption and hubris.”

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