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Iceland's Pirate Party tops polls ahead of national elections

Manifesto silent on copyright, calls for privacy, anonymity and open data in open formats

The Pirate Party looks set for a successful outing in the coming weekend's Icelandic elections.

A poll by local newspaper Morgunblaðið and the Icelandic Social Science Research Institute of the University of Iceland reports support for the Pirate Party is running at about 22.6 per cent, a point-and-a-half ahead of the ruling Independence Party and four points clear of the Left-Greens. That's impressive spport, although the party's support has fallen a couple of points since March 2015.

Iceland uses s proportional representation system so the party's current level of support will likely translate into about 15 seats in the 63-member Althingi.

That won't be not enough for Píratar, the party's Icelandic name, to take government. It's also ruled out a coalition with the Independence Party.

But earlier this year Independence split and the recently-formed splinter group Viðreisn (tr. “Regeneration”) is polling at 8.8 per cent and has ruled out joining a government with any of the current coalition parties. If the Pirates can align with Viðreisn and other like-minded parties it may therefore become part of a governing coalition and win some ministries.

If it does, it will seek to implement a platform that includes a right to privacy and a right to anonymity, a call for government data to be open and in open data formats. Among the party's proposals are an idea to make Iceland a data haven in which information cannot be disclosed, an arrangement akin to Switzerland's role as a haven for secret financial dealings.

It will also mean the party's leader, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, one of two Pirates elected at Iceland's last election in 2012, will have gone from WikiLeaks activist to minister in six short years. Jónsdóttir helped the leaking site to produce the 2010 release of leaked videos of US airstrikes on civilians. ®

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