Icelandic Pirate Party maroons itself from coalition talks

Píratar wants to drive change without taking power

Piracy it seems, does not pay: Iceland's Pirate Party may have won ten seats in the nation's Parliament, but is indifferent about having just one at the negotiating table for a new governing coalition.

A year ago Píratar looked like being the dominant party in Iceland's Alþingi, but come election day it won only 14.5 per cent of the vote. That was less than pre-polling indicated but in line with the party's expectations. Now the party says it is “... looking to make a change, not to gain power.”

Iceland's historically-dominant Independence Party emerged with 22 seats in the 63-seat Alþingi and as of late last week a Presidential mandate to lead talks aimed at forming a new coalition government.

Icelandic newsmagazine Visir reports those talks have, to date, seen Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson meet with five minor parties last Friday, After those talks Benediktsson said he feels the Progressive Party (eight seats), Regeneration party (seven), Bright Future (four) and Left-Green Movement (10 seats) are more likely coalition partners than Píratar.

Iceland's electoral cycle is out of synch at present, due to the Panama-papers-induced resignation of prime minister Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson. The nation's elections usually take place months before the new Parliament sits, but this early election means there's more urgency to form a new coalition. If Píratar retains its isolated stance, it is unlikely to see its open data agenda get far in this political cycle. ®

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