Iceland’s prime minister steps down after big gains by Pirate Party
Iceland’s prime minister stepped down Sunday after his Progressive Party suffered huge losses in the snap election, which was called in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations earlier this year.
The Progressive Party lost more than half its seats in the 63-seat parliament, the BBC reported. Iceland’s anti-establishment Pirate Party, which is run by hackers and activists, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since its inception in 2012, and tripled its seats in Sunday’s election.
But despite early polls suggesting a possible win, it’s the center-right Independence Party that will be tasked with forming Iceland’s next government after winning 23 seats — not enough to declare an outright victory, however.
The Pirate Party hasn’t ruled out forming a coalition government with left-wing and centrist parties, but previously said it was unlikely they’d join forces with the Independence Party. This might change in the coming days, Reuters reports.
Pirate Party founder Birgitta Jonsdottir said she was “very satisfied” with the results.
Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson assumed the role of Prime Minister earlier this year after his predecessor’s offshore banking arrangements was exposed as part of the Panama papers leak, where banking records held by the Panama City law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to multiple news outlets earlier this year.
Former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson resigned in April after the leak revealed he failed to disclose his 50 percent share in a vast offshore fund when he entered parliament in 2009 when Iceland was struggling to recover from the financial crisis.
Even though Gunnlaugsson resigned, the Progressive Party has struggled to recover its image.