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Iceland's Pirate Party wins 10 seats, will need unlikely coalition to rule

'Regeneration' splinter party will likely be the captain-maker

Iceland's Pirate Party has won ten seats in the nation's 63-seat parliament, the Alþingi.

Píratar, to use the party's Icelandic name, secured 14.5 per cent of the vote, below the 22.6 per cent reported in polls last week but at the upper range of party officials' expectations. Píratar had three seats in the last Alþingi, so is justifiably claiming it has taken major strides.

No party won the election outright. The Independence Party has dominated Icelandic politics for decades and won 21 seats, two more than it did last time, but its current coalition partner the Progressive Party's vote collapsed and it will have just eight seats. Former Progressive Party prime minister Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson resigned after being named in The Panama Papers, which precipitated the election and led to the party being rather on the nose.

Other parties to do well at the election share some of Píratar's values, such as the Left-Green Movement (10 seats), Bright Future (four) and the Social Democratic Alliance (three). But even if all of those parties could form a coalition with Píratar, they'd be five seats short of a majority.

Enter “Regeneration”, a new party that recently splintered the Independence Party and took seven seats but has previously ruled out going into coalition with either the Independence or Progressive parties.

Regeneration also shares some Pirate values: it's pro-Europe, wants the nation to accept more refugees and favours a strong welfare and public health system. Whether it will enter into a coalition with parties to its left, and accept Pirate policies like a right to privacy, a right to anonymity and call for government data to be open remains to be seen. ®

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