The Pirate party is now the most popular political party in Iceland, TorrentFreak reports.
Over the past several years, the Pirate Party has grown rapidly in the Nordic country. Based on a platform of radical copyright reform and social liberalism, the party now has the support of 23.9% of the population, according to a recent survey. The next-largest party, the Independence Party, is now at 23.4%, according to Icelandic news site Visir.
It’s a remarkable rise: The Pirate Party was only founded at the tail end of 2012, and gained its first parliamentary seats in 2013 (it currently holds three).
Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge told TorrentFreak that he “didn’t really anticipate a Pirate Party measuring as its country’s very largest within a decade of founding the first one in 2006… The suddenly-within-reach prospect of actually taking up a prime ministry in the near term shows what you can accomplish when you’re calling out stale policies and governmental backroom shadiness for what they are. It also shows how the net generation just won’t stand for the holier-than-thou attitude that’s still being displayed by an old self-appointed elite toward the young future.”
For all the celebration, there’s no guarantee that the Pirate Party’s popularity will hold until the next election and translate into actual parliamentary seats — the last survey by polling company MMR put their support at 12.8% a month ago. But if it does, it could have major consequences.
As Ars Technica points out, the party strongly supports exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who currently lives in Russa. The Icelandic parliament reportedly has the power to bestow citizenship on foreigners, and there have already been moves in parliament to support Snowden: A Pirate Party-led government could mean after two years in Russia, the whistleblower will find himself a new refuge.