Iceland’s Pirates Have a New Steering Committee

Iceland’s Pirates Have a New Steering Committee

In the weekend of 29-30 August 2015 The Pirate Party of Iceland held a General Assembly in which they elected a new steering committee and passed two important motions.

As we publish the latest polls indicate PPIS is now polling at 36% and would have 26 seats – three more than both current governing parties and it would not be practicable to form a government that did not include the Pirates if elections reflected these numbers.

The new steering committee has a daunting task ahead of it. They have to consolidate and hopefully build on the remarkable results in the polls seeing them rise from 5.1% they achieved in the 2013 elections to over 30% currently. Most of that rise has been achieved since February this year which is a testament to the work done by the outgoing committee.  The new committee is overwhelmingly young and has a slight female majority. In the featured image above you can see them from left to right:

Erna Ýr Öldudóttir
Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir
Gunnar Ingiberg Guðmundsson
Friðfinnur Finnbjörnsson
Olga Margrét Cilia

In addition to the elected members two members (not in the picture) where chosen by lot:

Unnar Örn Ólafsson
Halldóra Sigrún Ásgeirsdóttir

Friðfinnur Finnbjörnsson said:

 It was a good meeting, lots of new faces and the room felt charged with energy. It’s a good start for the new council. We have many good people offering to help and with the growth rate we are seeing we are going to need all the good people we can get. Our goals are to solidify the foundations of the party and to make our workings even more transparent and democratic.

Despite the Pirates being the largest polling party in the country the press has soft-pedaled the meeting. This is especially notable in the mainstream press and  is reminiscent of the experience of the Swedish Pirates who were ignored by the press in the run up to the latest elections. However, the role of social media and personal contact in a country of only 330,ooo people is not to be discounted and it is the hard work of PPIS that has counted towards the growth of the party and not the vagaries of the press.

The Icelandic people already know what the Pirate stand for. There are two things that will be foremost in their minds and these were confirmed at the GA by those present and remote participants from all over the island.

  1. To give the people a referendum to vote on whether they wish to join the EU. Current polling indicates they do not but that choice belongs to the people not the government which broke off negotiations without even informing parliament.
  2. To ratify the crowd sourced constitution after a few minor amendments. This would lead to the immediate dissolution of parliament and fresh elections.  Something traditional parties would not do but the Pirate Party is  not a traditional party.

In fact the traditional parties, including the biggest party in the governing coalition the Independence Party have not known what to make of the Pirates. The chairperson of the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson, says he finds the Pirate Party to be “a blank page” and questioned the commitment of one of its founders, MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir. However he did not rule out forming a ruling coalition with the Pirate Party after the next elections. Something the Icelandic Pirates might not be so keen on.

Featured image: CC BY-SA PPIS