It’s Time for the Pirates
After yesterday’s massive demonstrations outside Alþingi (the Icelandic parliament) all eyes are on the Pirates. Since the morning, Birgitta Jónsdóttir (MP and a leading figure of the Pirate Party of Iceland) has been interviewed by CNN, BBC and other global news channels about Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson’s scandal.
“He has already done so much damage for people’s trust in the state, and he’s completely defamed Iceland in the eyes of the international community,” Birgitta told CNN. Icelanders were “embarrassed” and “in shock” to see their leader appear in news reports on the leaked documents alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world figures, she added.
Talking to Reuters news agency Birgitta emphasized: “What would be the most natural and the right thing to do is that [he] resign as prime minister. There is a great and strong demand for that in society and he has totally lost all his trust and believability.”
Birgitta also spoke to the Indepedent and said that “she is ‘ready’ to form a government in the event of a snap election, amid calls for the beleaguered prime minister to resign over the leaked Panama Papers…”
Birgitta made a statement in her personal facebook page (translated from Icelandic to English):
“Have been in direct interviews with foreign media since early yesterday. Started at 7 in the morning on CNN, followed immediately by the BBC with Sigrun Davíðsdóttir. I am very proud of my people to gather outside the parliament in such a large scale. […] To experience the story and be a part of these so historic times is incredibly amazing. I am full of humility […] The emotions are primarily because of the people who came to protest yesterday, because they are now all in the world press and shows that Icelanders have nothing in common with the young silver spoon of the Cabinet. You are the ones who objected to the immorality, the ones that have saved the reputation of the nation. Thanks.”
Leaked documents benefit PPIS
The leaks happened in a beneficial time for the Pirates in Iceland. PPIS polled at their highest level ever at 36.1% a few days before the scandal impacted the nation. Now they are likely to poll even higher. If early elections are to be announced, then it will be a unique opportunity for the first ever Pirate government in the world to be elected.
All spotlights are directed towards the Pirate Party of Iceland. The Pirates have pulled their strongest card: the transparency of the public sector and the people who serve it (government officials, officers, secretaries, politicians, MPs, ministers, prime minister, and the president of the country). PPIS have dominated the polls over the past year and at several occasions they have even been larger than the ruling government. Currently both leaders of the two governmental parties are involved in the scandal with offshore companies.
The Greens/EFA, in which the European Pirates participate, had a press release on the topic of tax avoidance and money laundering, where they called for an immediate response at EU level:
“…Almost a year and a half on from the ground-breaking Luxembourg Leaks revelations, we are still stuck in limbo as regards widespread tax avoidance. Authorities and policy makers in Europe and beyond are aware that individuals and corporations continue to go to great lengths to avoid paying their taxes but they are unwilling to take the necessary action to address this. We need an EU action plan against money laundering, which should include sanctions on uncooperative banks, and this should be part of the upcoming review of EU rules on money laundering…”
Ongoing mistrust of the goverment for more than a year
The mistrust Icelanders have for their government has been recorded in the polls for a year now. It is very clear from the polls that they put their trust in Pirates. If PPIS get elected, it will trigger the electoral influence of many other pirate parties as a reliable transnational political movement.
The recent leaks worsens the situation for the Prime Minister of Iceland. However, the situation was far from good before the scandal hit the nation. Noteworthy is that polls, before the Panama Papers, indicated that only 17% of Icelanders said they trusted the politicians in their parliament.
It’s no secret that the Icelandic government might collapse within a week because of the Panama Papers. That means that all parties have to be ready for snap elections. Normally the next Icelandic parliamentary elections would be held on (or before) 27 April 2017. However, now everyone must be prepared that they might happen on a 45 day notice.
Featured image: Public, used with permission