Icelandic voters favour Independence Party

October 30, 2016 5:00 pm
Partial results from ’s parliamentary polls show the ruling coalition partner, Independence Party, is in the lead, dismissing speculations about the nation’s change of heart in favor of the anti-establishment Pirates Party.
With about a third on the ballots counted on Sunday, Independence Party has secured 30 percent of the vote, followed by the Greens with 16 percent and the Pirate Party third at almost 14 percent.
The ruling coalition’s senior partner, the Progressive Party, only got about 10 percent of the general elections’ ballots, indicating its demise.
Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson announced he would resign on Sunday after his Progressive Party suffered a plunge in support.
The Pirates Party and three left-of-center allies bagged 28 seats, four short of the 32 needed to gain an overall majority in the 63-member parliament, the Althingi, according to the early results.
It gained less than expected votes in the polls, making it unlikely for it to be part of a new government.
“We knew that we would never get 30 percent,” Pirate Party leader Birgitta Jonsdottir said after the elections.
The Pirate Party, advocating democracy and Internet freedom, however, gained three-times more votes compared to the previous election.
“The results are just great. This is actually more than what we realistically hoped that we would actually get. We are tripling, quadrupling in some cases, our support in some constituencies and you can, you know, be extremely happy about that,” said Asta Guorun Helgadottir, MP for Pirate Party.
The Pirates Party was founded in 2012 by a group of activists and hackers as part of an international anti-copyright movement. The group, whose headquarters is onboard a boat anchored in the port of Reykjavik, has promised to reinvigorate democracy.
Preliminary results further indicate that voters look to oust the governing government in its current form, not through the Pirates Party, but though Independence Party, which has vowed to lower taxes, and yet keep the economic recovery on track.
Both the Independence Party and Pirate Party have so far ruled out working together, though this could change during negotiations in the days to come.
Neither the Pirates Party nor the Independence Party seems able to win a majority of the votes.
Analysts say it is still too early to say which party or parties would take power and predict what kind of constellation would emerge when all the votes are counted.
The governing Progressive Party lost its popularity when its prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, was caught in a scandal and forced to resign in April after documents leaked from the Panama Papers revealed his alleged affiliation to an offshore company that held millions of dollars in debt from failed Icelandic banks.
Iceland’s economy has been on the track of recovery after the 2008 banking crisis busted it.
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