Pirates are on the verge of taking control of Iceland

The liberal Pirate Party is set to top polls when the country votes tomorrow...

Pirates are on the verge of taking control of Iceland

David Keyton AP

Cyber-anarchist, poet, and former WikiLeaks spokesperson Birgitta Jonsdottir is set to become one of Iceland's most powerful politicians after this weekend - if the country's flash election goes as expected.

She is the public face of the country's Pirate Party (not the leader because the party has a horizontal power structure and doesn't believe in that kind of thing).

"I would like to take this idea of power and bring it to the parliament and actually be the speaker of the house but not the prime minister," she said ahead of the vote.

Her party is set to be the largest group in a liberal coalition after the weekend.

"I'm not a career politician. I ended up here by pure accident, maybe I'm just a poet-ician," the activist told AFP.

Iceland descended into a political crisis earlier in this year when prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson resigned after connections between him and his wife, and off shore accounts were published in the Panama Papers. These actions were not illegal, but they did spark major protests in Reykjavik while Mr Gunnlaugsson stepped down.

The Pirate Party is running on an anti-corruption platform, Ms Jonsdottir compares the island to an older incarnation of Sicily, with a few "mafia-style families" and their allies holding power.

"People in Iceland are sick of corruption and nepotism. The Icelandic Pirate Party will not be able to solve all of the ingrown problems in Iceland but it will certainly be able to offer new hardware, complete with a new set of rules based on how we operate as a collective community," she states on her website.


To the question 'Why is the Pirate Party scoring this high in polls?' she replies:

"One of the many theories why so many of the Icelandic nation trust us in the polls is because people sense that we stand for enacting changes that have to do with reforming the systems, rather than changing minor things that might easily be changed back.

"Our policies therefore stand in stark contrast to what appears to be the pattern of modern politics; minor changes but always the same dysfunctional system."

The party supports open government, direct democracy, the decriminalisation of drugs, and Iceland offering political asylum to NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden.