Two Nordic Pirate Parties Change the Hands on the Helm

Two Nordic Pirate Parties Change the Hands on the Helm

Two Pirate Parties changed their “leadership” last weekend. Finland and Iceland both have a new board. This is especially significant for Finland who are facing elections next year.


Tapani karvinen

Tapani Karvinen CC BY-SA PPFI

In a close election, held on Sunday 17 August 2014, the Pirate Party of Finland elected  the 33-year-old Tapani Karvinen as new Chairman replacing Harri Kivistö by 33 votes to 29. Harri Kivistö will remain on the board as an ordinary member. This is a laudable as, in the past, Pirate Parties have found themselves with a complete new board who are left to struggle on without the institutional knowledge that should be passed on. It would be a wise move for Pirate Parties to implement this as a policy.

The new Chairman holds a communication-oriented Diploma in Computer Science and civil activities. He was  chairman of the Southwest Finland Pirate Party and has international experience in the technology industry.

“The Pirate Party’s problem, for a long time, has been the unduly small image  the Party has; here we have a lot of room for improvement. Even now, over four thousand members understand that information society issues are strictly necessary in the Finnish political field,” said Tapani  Karvinen immediately after the selection.

The party also elected the two vice-presidents, Pasi Palmulehto ( former party chairman) and  Janne Paalijärvi (previous party spokesperson).


Showing the anarcho-punk influence of some of their founders, the Icelandic Pirates do not like to have hierarchies and titles so the new board listed without titles. It consists of:

  • Finnur Þ. Gunnþórsson
  • Erna Ýr Pétursdóttir
  • Eva Lind Þuríðardóttir
  • Arnaldur Sigurðarson
  • Elsa Nore
  • Birgir Steinarsson
  • Friðfinnur Finnbjörnsson

Two of the seats on the board are randomized. The others are chosen in a Single Transferable Vote election with the Schultze method. The Condorcet winner is the chairman, or, Smith set winner if there is no Condorcet winner. On top of this, there is the rule that nobody who is currently representing the party in office may be on the party’s board. This is to reduce the chance of personality cults, excessive power, and guarantee a broad range of skills and experiences. (Thanks to Smári McCarthy for explaining this.)

Another interesting thing about the board is that members are restricted to a two year term. This means that Bjorn now has time to apply his skills to the Pirate Times. We have been struggling recently as our IT experts are increasingly being distracted by duties they have taken on at national and international levels. Many of our team members have moved on to high offices in the Pirate Movement. Bjorn Thor’s move to the Pirate Times is the first time the move has been the other way. We will be very nervous at the next PPIS elections.

PPIS board members sitting around a table covered in laptops

PPIS Board Arpil 2013

I was privileged to be able to attend some board meetings last year and was struck by the way they conducted themselves. They used Occupy Movement hand signals to enable quick resolution of discussions to consensus. This may be regarded as flaky by some but remember, they are the most successful national Pirate Party in the world – gaining 5% in national elections. They are disciplined, efficient and united.

Featured image: CC-BY 2.0 Hammerin Man


This article has been edited to correct a few mistranslations and to add new information 23 August 2014