Icelanders vote in snap elections after scandal

October 29, 2016 2:50 pm

Politicians of various parties and movements take part in a debate ahead of parliamentary elections in , October 28, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

Icelanders are voting in snap elections that are expected to see the anti-establishment Pirate Party form a new center-left coalition after the so-called Panama Papers revealed a global tax evasion scandal that also involved the nation’s former prime minister.
The voters are expected to punish the incumbent government in the Saturday polls after the scandal hit a number of senior politicians and forced the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, AFP reported.
Although the current government of the conservative Independence Party and the centrist Progressive Party survived the scandal, it pledged to hold snap elections six months before the end of its term in spring 2017.
“We’re losing support [because of the] big anti-establishment [feeling],” said Independence Party lawmaker Birgir Armannsson.
The Pirate Party was founded in 2012 by activists, anarchists and former hackers, and calls in its political campaigning “for public transparency, institutional reform, individual freedoms, and the fight against corruption,” the report says.
Most of the party’s supporters are younger voters.
The outcome of the elections will be known shortly after polling stations close but since no party is expected to win a majority, Iceland’s destiny will only be known following coalition talks.
Although Iceland, a volcanic island with a population of only 332,000 people, has returned to prosperity since its 2008 financial meltdown with GDP growth anticipated to remain above four percent this year due to tourism and the recovery of its financial system, the country’s youth distrust the political elite.
The nation has also witnessed a devastating economic crisis and been forced to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
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