Iceland’s Pirate Party is expected to win the largest share of the vote in the country’s Oct. 29 general election, less than four years after the fringe political group formed. Its rise is the latest, and perhaps most colorful, in a string of anti-Establishment insurgencies throughout Europe, from the far left to the far right.
Led by former WikiLeaks activist and “poetician” Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Pirate Party formed in the wake of the collapse of Iceland’s hugely overleveraged banking industry following the 2008 financial crisis. After the Panama Papers revealed in early 2016 that former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson held investments in offshore accounts, support for the movement surged to 43% in an April poll.
AYE ON POWER
The party says it wants to be the “Robin Hood” of politics by handing power back to Icelanders and seeks to make the country a haven for hackers and whistle-blowers. But forming a stable government could present a challenge. The party has ruled out working with the current center-right coalition, which includes Gunnlaugsson’s Progressive Party, and may have to seek an alliance with at least two smaller parties.
The party has much in common with other European populist parties: it has campaigned for constitutional reform, redistribution of resources and a referendum on Iceland’s relationship with the E.U. If the Pirates do plunder a win, it will be one more example of an outsider’s turning into the champion of establishment-weary voters.
This appears in the November 07, 2016 issue of TIME.