Iceland Election Results A Nail-Biting Finish
In an election result, reminiscent of last year’s national elections, the Pirate Party of Iceland saw a new representative enter the municipal council of Reykjavik by a narrow margin. The result is more important than one might think in Iceland, since the Pirates are very good at being representatives, using wasa2il and not just pushing a party line. They expected more seats but as Helgi told us in our last article about these elections: the Pirate demographic overlaps, to some extent, with the non-voter demographic.
The Pirates contested seats in three other areas of Iceland: Kópavogur, Reykjanesbær and Hafnarfjörðurv. In Kópavogur the Pirates got 4% of the votes cast. In Reykjanesbær they achieved 2.5% of the votes. In Hafnarfjörður they got extremely close at 6.7% (a mere 5 votes from being elected).
The voter turnout for the elections was at a record low 63% of eligible voters. Infighting amongst the Pirates of Reykjanesbær, which led to some candidates resigning just before the election, may have been an explanation for their low 2.5% result there. Such incidents are not rare amongst Pirates and are more of a side-effect of open and tranparent democracy than anything else.
The largest party was the Social Democrats and they have announced they are forming a coalition with the Pirates, Bright Future and the Left-Greens. This will give the coalition a nine-seat majority. The elected Pirate, who will be representing the people of Reykjavik, is Halldór Auðar Svansson. He is a 34 year old computer scientist and works as a programmer for ‘Statistics Iceland’. Hobbies include the Internet, good books, “religion on a broad base”, and Kung Fu. He was raised by two PhD political scientists which might explain some of his interest for politics.
The Campaign Manager Ásta Helgadóttir (see featured image) made a coment about the result:
We got a seat. It’s been tough couple of weeks and the next few years will be even more difficult. Not because we won, or didn’t win as big as we thought we would, but because the fascists managed to turn the tables, from polling around 1% in opinion polls to getting 10% of the votes and 2 people in City Council. This is the same trend as everywhere else in Europe: Right wing, nationalistic fascism growing.
I am going to spend the next five years to do what it takes to fight the return of fascism in Europe and elsewhere in the world. I don’t know what it means or where it will take me, but I know it’s the right thing to do.
This is an important message that all European Pirates should take to heart. The problem is not in the Pirate principles and policies but the rapidly changing demographic. Billy Bragg, a UK musician and political activist, in a recent lecture at the London School of Economics, pointed out that:
the rise of support for right wing parties in Europe is a desperate, misguided reaction of people to the negative effects of rampant globalisation on their lives. We are going to have to react intelligently and compassionately to the needs of these people and those who have given up on voting.
Featured image CC BY-SA, Pirate Times from images by PPIS & Pirate Times