Founded in 2006 by Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party movement has scored some significant victories over the years, but what happened in Iceland today trumps them all.
According to the first results that came in over the past few hours, one in seven Icelanders voted Pirate in the national parliamentary elections. This is an impressive victory for the Pirate Party, which increased the number of parliament seats from three to ten in just three years.
This makes the Pirates one of the big winners of the election, and the third largest party in the country behind the Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement which got 29.1% and 15.8% of the votes.
Traditionally, Iceland has a coalition government consisting of several parties. With this outcome the party now has a prominent spot at the negotiation table, where the new government will be formed during the weeks to come.
With the current distribution of seats this will be quite a challenge.
Today’s success doesn’t come as a surprise as the party has been polling very well this year.
At one point it was close to total majority in the polls. That dropped off quite a bit in recent months, but with the current result the Pirates still managed to nearly triple their votes compared to the previous election.
The Icelandic Pirate Party was formed in November 2012 by several Internet activists including Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who’s well known for her former involvement with WikiLeaks.
Within a year the party participated in its first parliamentary elections, scoring three seats, which was a major milestone for the Pirate movement at the time.
The Pirate Party’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed by the mainstream media either. Several prominent publications all across the world have covered the ‘unusual’ candidates this week, and rightly so.
Speaking with TorrentFreak last week, Ásta Helgadóttir, Member of Parliament for the Icelandic Pirate Party, said that the party is ready to bring the change many citizens are longing for.
“Firstly, by adopting a new constitution which has already been voted on in a non-binding referendum,” Helgadóttir says.
“This will change how Iceland functions as a democracy, transitioning into a much more meaningful democracy. The Pirates are focused on decentralization of power, access to information and civil and human rights. The pillars of any meaningful notion of democracy.”
Despite the unusual name, at least in politics, the Pirates are by no means a single-issue party.
They have a detailed plan for how Iceland can break free from the ruling political establishment. Their core policy has a strong focus on freedom of information and expression, a right to privacy, transparency and direct democracy.
But first, it’s time to celebrate, which will undoubtedly involve several bottles of rum and plenty of Pirate flag waving.
Update: The seat total was changed to 10 after publication, to reflect the final numbers.