Saturday

25th Mar 2017

Iceland Pirate party election gains but short of expectations

  • Iceland's prime minister resigned on Sunday following election results (Photo: smcgee)

Parliament elections in Iceland over the weekend saw the Pirate Party more than triple its seats to 10 but still fall short of early expectations.

The anti-establishment party tied for second with the Left-Green Party as the conservative Independence Party took pole position with 21 out of 63 seats in the world's oldest parliament.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Polls leading up to the general election on Saturday (29 October) had initially suggested a stronger win for the Pirate Party in a move that would have spelled a major upset to traditional party systems.

But Pirate Party leader, poet and activist Birgitta Jonsdottir remained happy with the final results.

"Our internal predictions showed 10 to 15 percent, so this is at the top of the range. We knew that we would never get 30 percent," she was quoted as saying in Reuters.

The four-year old party has a strong following among the youth with aims to secure stronger digital rights, direct democracy, and greater government transparency.

The election also had its causalities.

Iceland's prime minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson on Sunday resigned following the dismal results of his centre-right Progressive Party.

The party was the biggest loser and saw its support plummet from 19 to 8 seats. Voters punished the party over corruption claims and links to the 2008 financial crash.

It is the second Progressive Party prime minister to step down this year.

Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson was forced out in April following revelations from the Panama Paper leaks him and his wife owned a firm registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The offshore company held millions in debts from failed Icelandic banks that had borrowed 11 times more than the country's entire GDP in the lead up to the 2008 financial meltdown.

Coalition blues

The conservative Independence Party, which has promised to lower taxes, will now be tasked to form a new government amid questions over possible coalition partners.

The final make-up of the new government remains unclear.

A new liberal and pro-European Regeneration Party is expected to be the kingmaker but has reportedly so far ruled out joining ranks with the Independence party.

It means a group of left-leaning parties may instead find a majority and shape a government.

With 30 MPs, Iceland's parliament now has the highest proportion of females in Europe

Analysis

Iceland's not-so-quiet revolution

In the space of three years, Iceland's main parties have seen their vote decimated, and new parties may well take almost half the electorate in Saturday's election.

Poland snubbed twice in EU summit fiasco

[Updated] Poland tried and failed to block EU summit conclusions shortly after failing to block Tusk’s re-election as Council chief, prompting bitter accusations.

French candidates avoid EU debate

In their first TV debate, the main candidates for the April election only briefly discussed the country's EU policies, with far-right Le Pen and centrist Macron taking aim at each other.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change