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    This is a Monday April 4, 2016 file photo of people who gathered to demonstrate against Iceland's prime minister, in Reykjavik. Iceland’s president on Tuesday April 5, 2016, refused a request from the prime minister to dissolve parliament and call a new election amid a dispute over the premier’s offshore tax affairs

    Iceland's Pirate Party to the Rescue of Democracy Lost at Sea

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    Iceland's Pirate Party, which already has three parliamentary seats, is currently more popular than mainstream parties in Iceland because it is trying more seriously to reform democracy than other parties, Asta Helgadottir told Radio Sputnik.

    The Pirate Party is enjoying greater popularity than the mainstream parties in Iceland because its members and MP's are working hard to make a better-functioning democracy, Pirate Party member Asta Helgadottir told Radio Sputnik.

    ​"I believe it has to do both with that we are doing really good work in parliament, we are trying to find alternative ways of making democracy function, and we have been criticizing the establishment and the system as a whole," Helgadottir explained.

    Helgadottir said that the party's insistence on bringing corrupt officials implicated in recent scandals to account has also brought them a steady political following.

    The party currently has three seats in the 63-seat parliament, but eight of ten recent polls put them in the lead, showing they have more support than all the other parliamentary parties.

    As a result, it has been awarded 35 percent of the state funding pool of 290 million Icelandic krona ($2.3 million), for general elections in November.

    "Some of that support we are getting is basically just people who don't really believe in the other parties any more, and I don't know if we are going to continue to actually have them because new parties are being established right now and people that have been supporting us may go to the new parties, or may even go back to the parties they had been supporting before," Helgadottir said.

    Helgadottir said that many Icelanders are dissatisfied with the performance of establishment politicians since the financial crisis of 2008, following which many reform promises were made that weren't kept.

    "The current power bloc in Icelandic politics has not really been providing this democratic change that the uprising in 2008 and 2009, following the financial crisis, was promised."

    "We were promised a new constitution, and the established parties are not really keen on giving the nation a new constitution. There have been promises that have been broken, people don't feel like they are getting what they voted for. They feel like they have voted for the cat in the sack, and that is what makes people angry and disappointed."

    Several corruption scandals have also taken their toll on public trust in politicians, who are perceived to not bear the consequences of their actions, Helgadottir said.

    "The Prime Minister had to resign, but only as Prime Minister so he will be taking a seat tomorrow as a fully functional MP again. People who have been affiliated with some scandals, with some clear corruption, have not been taking political responsibility in a way that we would see in other countries, so I believe that is something that disappoints people more than anything else." 

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    pirate, elections, corruption, Pirate Party, Iceland
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