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PPIS Ranked Third But Won The Elections In Effect

PPIS Ranked Third But Won The Elections In Effect

Although Pirate Party of Iceland (PPIS) finally ranked third in the number of votes, it gained much more publicity than any other party. PPIS has a possibility to be part of the next government, it can be considered the largest winner of these elections.

After the recent failure of Berlin Pirates in September (they lost 15 seats in the parliament of Berlin) the tripling of the number of seats held by PPIS was what the Pirate movement needed to recover morale. In only three and a half years since entering parliament, PPIS has increased its share of the vote from 5,1% to 14,98%. The Pirates now have 10 MP’s, seven more than 2013 and now have representatives from all the regions of the country. PPIS still remains the only Pirate party that has representatives in a national parliament. They are valid players at the table of power and under certain circumstances they could even participate in the next government.

Besides the great electoral success, the most important feat for the Pirate movement is the great mobilization, support and solidarity shown by Pirates globally. Since April, when it became clear that there will be snap elections in Iceland, Pirates from many parties declared themselves willing  to help in any way they could with the election campaign. A few days prior to the election date many Pirates traveled to Iceland to experience this historic moment.

On election day and especially during the night, many parties were organized throughout the world to watch the results. Pirates celebrated in cities such as Helsinki, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Delft, Groningen, Dusseldorf, Berlin, London (Canada) and Luxembourg.

Of course the main party was in Reykjavik where Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Pirate movement, Julia Reda, Pirate MEP, Icelandic pirates and many other pirates from Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Italy created a cheering atmosphere that was live streamed.

See more pictures from the events at

The media was gripped by frenzy about the Pirate movement
There were countless references in the media about PPIS, even when another party was leading in the polls. It is striking how the international mainstream media informed their readers who were hungry to read more about the Pirate Party. Although the Pirates were surpassed in the number of votes it is the only party that readers will remember a long time after the event!

In the long term, all the publicity will have a great impact in the electoral influence of the Pirate Parties in countries, where Pirate Parties already exist and will also inspire people to create Pirate Parties in countries where there are none.

There were reports in countries such as Finland, Greece, Serbia, Spain, New Zealand, Netherlands, Slovenia, Russia, Japan, France, Portugal and of course intense interest in Sweden (the birthplace of the Pirate movement). In Israel, the Israeli newspaper featured it and a Pirate was invited to talk about the elections on Israeli TV. For a complete world press coverage take a look at

The final results
Invalid/blank votes 5,574    //  Total 195,204   // Registered voters 246,515   //   Turnout 79.19%

Independence Party (54,990) 29.00% 21 seats
Left-Green Movement (30,166) 15.91% 10 seats
Pirate Party (27,449) 14.48% 10 seats
Progressive Party (21,791) 11.49% 8 seats
Reform (19,870) 10.48% 7 seats
Bright Future (13,578) 7.16% 4 seats
Social Democratic Alliance (10,893) 5.74% 3 seats
People’s Party (6,707) 3.54 % No seats
Dawn (3,275) 1.7% No seats
People’s Front of Iceland (575) 0.30% No seats
Icelandic National Front (303) 0.16% No seats
Humanist Party (33) 0.02% No seats

Key features of the elections
1) No party has the simple majority needed to form a government because none of them received the needed 32 out of 63 seats in the Althingi (Icelandic Parliament). Thus all elected parties will have to negotiate. PPIS announced, two days before the election, the results of negotiations with the Left-Green Movement, Bright Future and the Social Democratic Alliance (totaling 27 seats between the 4 parties). The Independence and Progressive Party (the old government coalition) gathered 29 seats and thus can’t form a majority government. Viðreisn (Reform), which is a new party, gained 7 seats and is the “kingmaker” of the election. The leader of Reform has stated that his party will not co-operate with the outgoing government.

2) The resounding failure of the polls to accurately portray the voting intention of Icelanders. Not one poll predicted the results of the elections. They forecast that the Independence Party would rank in 1st place but no poll said that the Pirates would finally be third in votes. Instead all polls anticipated they would surely be second.

3) 48% of the Althingi consisted of women MPs making it the most gender equal parliament ever. The Icelandic parliament has 30/63 women MPs, a unique record in the history of Iceland and the world’s parliamentary history. The MPs of PPIS are equal with five men and five women.

4) The turnout of the voters was low for Icelandic standards. It was below 80% . It could have been even higher if the elections were held in April, when the weather in Iceland is better.

The political landscape after the elections
The day after the elections four Pirate MPs (Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Smári McCarthy, Björn Leví Gunnarsson and Halldóra Mogensen) gave a press conference commenting on the outcome of the elections and what the Pirate Party will do. According to the them the landscape after the elections is complicated, not only in the political level but also in the practical level, because it’s the first time that seven parties have representatives in the parliament.
“It’s a very tight issue, we have to proceed with a lot of negotiations and compromise, but it’s very interesting times for democracy. Pirates are open to compromise but not with the parties that were in the government. We need a long term vision, where we’re going as a society and that’s something that the Pirate Party has been working on for years. We focus on inspiring the general public to participate and co-create our society, on empowering people to be part of the change and we work to give people easy ways to participate”, pirates said among others.

PPIS also reported on its website:
“…Icelandic Pirates are overjoyed to have now secured a Pirate representative to Alþingi from every single one of Iceland’s six electorate districts, with first-time representatives in North West, North East and South districts, and additional four representatives being elected in the capital districts Reykjavik South, Reykjavik North and South West (Kópavogur, Garðabær, Hafnarfjörður, Seltjarnarnes, Mosfellsbær). The Pirate Party of Iceland would like to thank the scores of international Pirates that have visited us here in Iceland from thirteen different countries (including Sweden, Australia, Slovenia, Germany, USA and Canada) for their help and wonderful company and thanks to the people that have sent us countless greetings and YAAAR’s from all over the world…”

Meet the 10 Pirate MPs of PPIS
PPIS elected Pirate MPs in all the regions of Iceland

Reykjavik North (3)

Birgitta Jónsdóttir is one of the re-elected MPs. She is a “poetician” (poet/politician) and one of the founders of the Pirate Party in Iceland. She has been an MP for both the “Movement” and PPIS. Birgitta has worked in diverse functions, including office administrative and work, organization of artistic events of various kinds, layout of books, graphics, translation, journalism, writing, etc. Birgitta has a keen interest in the working procedures of the Parliament and its responsibility. She herself says:
“I am interested in setting up a Standing Committee of Parliament for the cross-party consensus, having long-term goals, such as e.g. the restoration of health care, changes in education in the spirit of Finnish, pensions, sustainability and electrical / methane cars fuel.”


Björn Leví Gunnarsson is another re-elected MP. He gave great emphasis on equal weighting of votes nationwide. He became a software specialist in educational institutions after he obtained his master’s degree in the United States but he held various jobs, including teaching in elementary school.
“Society expects more responsibility, more information, more cooperation. The system will not be fair unless people become responsible. The system will not be honest unless everyone has access to information. The system will not be human but with more cooperation.”


Halldóra Mogensen has been a parliamentary deputy and she has, among others, submitted a resolution on unconditional basic income. A profound sense of justice and a desire to benefit her community have been the dominant driving forces in her life.
“My key issue is about to eliminate poverty and provide equal opportunities for the individual and be truly free. It concerns me to come to the necessary constitutional changes and update our systems in line with the opportunities that technological advances offer”

Reykjavik South (2)

Ásta Guðrún Helgadóttir 26 years old is the third re-elected MP for PPIS. In the Parliament, she has undertaken a variety of issues in many fields and made an impact on the ownership of Landsbanki (the Icelandic National bank). Moreover, she has kept track of the copyright for the parliamentary group and has been working closely with pirate MEP Julia Reda. In recent years, she has devoted herself to the work related in one way or another to democracy, freedom of speech and changes in the constitution to reflect the democratic society of the 21st century better. Asta is a historian by training.


Gunnar Hrafn Jónsson 35 years has worked as a journalist. He has a BSc in Social Sciences and has lived in UK, Netherlands, China, Germany and Iceland. After moving home in 2006 he was a journalist with the ‘Reykjavik Grapevine‘ and then a reporter on ‘RUV‘ (The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service). He has a 3 year old daughter. As he says, principally he will focus on the rescue of the health care (especially the mental health system), at supplying a new constitution based on the recommendations adopted at the referendum, the participation of Iceland in international cooperation, the educational system.

Southwest (2)

Jón Þór Ólafsson Former pirate MP, made headlines when he left the parliament and returned to work with his former job in asphalt. He is married and has two children. During this term of office he got busy (with others) in health care, the EU membership application, fishing quotas and debt issues. He believes it is urgent to create a powerful competitive environment in Iceland, rebuild the health system and improve the part for the elderly and disabled. “I became member of  the Pirates when I realized that the Pirate Party stands for human rights protection and democratic reforms of our time”.


Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir has graduated from the University of Utrecht in international and human rights law. Her focal issues concerns the rights of those who are disadvantaged in society, the adoption of a new constitution and the restoration of health care. She lives in ‘Mosfellsbær’.
“Human rights of minorities and marginalized individuals are my particular areas of interest. In my work I concentrate on the rights of refugees, people with disabilities, prisoners and drug users, along with the rights of people with mental disorders and psychiatric illness”.

Northwest (1)

Eva Pandora Baldursdóttir was born in ‘Sauðárkrókur’ in 1990. She has a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Iceland, completed one year in MA in Cultural Management at the University of ‘Bifrost’ and has an MPA degree in public administration at the University of Iceland. She registered with the Progressive Party from the age of 16, when she started to get interested in politics, but when she met the Pirate Party a few months before the last parliamentary elections she saw immediately that the strategy and values of the Pirates matched hers. Since then, her interest in politics has grown and the issues that remain in focus for her is health, education, housing, corruption, agriculture and equality.

Northeast (1)

Einar Aðalsteinn Brynjólfsson has mostly been teaching the last seven years in High School. Einar has worked in various jobs, in fishing, the programming of radio stations, proofreading and guidance.

South (1)

Smári McCarthy was the Technical Director of the ‘Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project’ which was involved in the Panama Papers. In recent years he mainly worked in freedom of information and democracy projects. Smári has developed various open source software, including the Wasa2il which was nominated for the Prix Ars Electronica awards in 2013. He writes a lot, among other things, for journals such as “Arc” and “New Internationalist”, but has also written essays for Bergeron’s Children, Mediando la Democracia and The End of Artificial Scarcity.

All images are from and the piratar.island facebook page: CC BY-SA

 Election  Ásta Helgadóttir  Birgitta Jónsdóttir  Bjorn Levi Gunnarson  Einar Brynjolfsson  election  Eva Baldursdottir  Gunnar Hrafn Jonsson  Halldora Morgensen  Iceland  Jon Olafsson  Julia Reda  PPIS  Rick Falkvinge  Smari McCarthy  Torhildur Aevarsdottir
Pirate Party On Track For A Record Victory In Iceland

Pirate Party On Track For A Record Victory In Iceland

This is a guest post by Mattias Bjärnemalm, vice-president of Pirate Party Sweden and currently in Iceland for the elections.


This coming Saturday there will be an election in Iceland, after the Panama scandal forced the Prime Minister to resign and the government to call new elections this summer. It’s impossible, at this point, to say whether the Icelandic Pirate Party will be the largest or second largest party after the election. However, it’s entirely clear that compared to their result of 5.1% in the previous election, this will be an enormous success for them. This will be a large step forward for not just the Icelandic pirates – at the moment of writing, more than thirty pirates from other countries have said that they will travell to Iceland to be there at the election. In that group we can find the leaders for the Swedish, German, Dutch and Slovenian pirate parties, as well as our MEP Julia Reda.

What is it that has made the Icelandic Pirate Party successful? My analysis is that they have succeeded in building upon their previous successes very well. To go from 5% to 20% is an incredible change, but that’s actually not as impressive as the feat of 5.1% in the first election that a party stands in. To understand the Pirates’ success, you have to first understand the circumstances of their election in 2013, half a year after the party’s founding.

This is how ‘The Iceland Blog’ described the situation in 2012:
“Birgitta Jónsdóttir has been elected leader of Píratapartýið. In the Icelandic Pirate’s first policy program there is among other things a call for more transparency in society and increased civil rights. The goal is to get into the Alþingi in the spring elections. The Pirate Party will, above all, be trying to recruit young members who are active on the net. On Saturday the Pirate Party was formally founded at a meeting in Reykjavík. Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who is today an MP for ‘The Movement’, was elected leader of the executive committee. On the committee is also Björn Þór Jóhannesson, Halldóra Mogensen, Jason Scott and Stefán Vignir Skarphéðinsson, as well as Herbert Snorrason and Einar Valur Ingimundarson who were elected by lottery. The goal is to breach the 5% barrier to the Alþingi in April and gain representation in parliament. The Icelandic Pirate Party is aimed mostly towards young and internet-active voters.“

This can be seen as a relatively representative overview of the new party, where the focus was very much on Birgitta. The same blog described their policies in the following way before the election in 2013:
“The Icelandic pirates push classic pirate topics: transparency, freedom of information, direct democracy, public participation and – not necessarily as classic – decriminalization of narcotics. The use of narcotics should, according to the Pirate Party, be handled as a medical and not a legal and judicial problem. They attract mostly young voters from the left. Seen as a bit tougher and not as ‘squeaky clean’ as the Left-Green Movement. The most well-known name in the party is Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who has already had one term in parliament, first as part of ‘Citizen’s Movement’ and then ‘Movement’.“

In short, it’s the fact that they already had an MP from a grassroots movement that is emphasized and that gives the pirates the space they need to succeed at taking themselves over the 5% barrier. With Birgitta’s help they were able to be elected with three MP’s.

The Pirate’s next challenge was to prove that they weren’t just some blip and that they could win elections without celebrity power, which they had a chance to do in the council elections in 2014. There they succeeded, with Halldór Auðar Svansson at the top of the list who was elected into Reykjavík City Council with 5.9%. Through participating in the new municipal government they showed that they were willing to take responsibility in future elections.

Today, the situation is different. The pirates have more candidates with parliamentary experience, and their prime ministerial candidate is Smari McCarthy. He isn’t currently an MP, but Smari was one of the founders of the party and tops one of the lists for a constituency outside Reykjavik (something he also did in the last election when the pirates didn’t reach 5% there). Birgitta remains a central figure in the party and currently proposed as a future speaker of the house for the next parliament. In general, more faces have been brought forward and the pirates are seen as a broad movement in Iceland. After one year of leading the opinion polls, the people of Iceland, and the pirates themselves, have gotten used to the idea that they will probably play a part in the next government.

I don’t think I can emphasize enough how important it would be for the pirate movement globally to have a government with pirate ministers. So it is with great hope that I have packed my bags and booked my journey to Iceland. I flew there for a bit in September to get an idea of who they are and how they work, and I look forward to seeing them again in the coming days. And, of course, there will be a new post here after the election.


Mattias Bjärnemalm
Vice-president and Net Political spokesperson for Pirate Party Sweden.

CC-BY, Stefan Rouden

Mattias Bjärnemalm works as an expert in Net Politics in the European Parliament and was previously Head of Cabinet for Amelia Andersdotter’s (ex-MEP) office in Brussels. He is born and raised in Skǻne (southern Sweden) but has also lived and studied in Uppsala, Sweden before moving to Brussels. During his time in Uppsala he founded the Young Pirates Sweden where he was the association Secretary 2006-2009. He was also active in the Pirate Students in Uppsala and sat as a member of the Uppsala University Board 2009-2010.

During his time in Brussels he has worked with several areas within Net Politics such as copyright, net neutrality, data protection, ACTA, IoT and the IANA transition. He is also a frequent visitor to the Internet Governance Forum and EuroDIG.

Mattias was also central in the creation of Young Pirates of Europe and also the European Pirates (where he is currently a board member).

Featured image: CC-BY, Day Donaldson

 Birgitta Jónsdóttir  Guest Opinion  Election  Herbert Snorrason  Stefán Vignir Skarphéðinsson  Smari McCarthy  PPIS  Halldóra Mogensen  Halldór Auðar Svansson  Jason Scott  Einar Valur Ingimundarson  Björn Þór Jóhannesson