Pirate Party invited to form Iceland's next government

Though the October polls that predicted a great showing for the Pirate Party in the Icelandic elections turned out to be wrong, that election did end with a deeply divided parliament that has been unable to find enough common ground upon which to form a new government.

A month later, the President of Iceland has asked the Pirates to form the next government, after consulting with "the leaders of all parties."

If the Pirates form a minority government in Iceland, it's not clear how much they'll be able to advance their agenda of financial transparency, strong protections for privacy and free speech, an open internet, the adoption of Iceland's overwhelmingly popular, crowdsourced constitution, and an end to financial corruption (not to mention safe passage and citizenship for Edward Snowden).

However, the Pirate leaders in Iceland have a track record for integrity, deep technological know-how and a commitment to fundamental justice.

Giving the Pirate party, which came third in the election, the chance to build a government has been seen as a bold move that is not guaranteed to be a success.

"I am optimistic that we will find a way to work together," Jónsdóttir said.

The scandal over the Panama Papers, released in April, ensnared several Icelandic officials and led to the resignation of former prime minister Sigmundur Daviíð Gunnlaugsson, prompting the October vote.

With voters keen to see political change, the small and controversial Pirate party had vowed during the election campaign to implement radical institutional reforms for more direct democracy and greater transparency in public life.

Iceland's Pirate party invited to form government
[Agence France-Presse/The Guardian]

(Image: Iceland's Pirate Party Increases Election Lead, Day Donaldson, CC-BY)