Image via CBC

Outgoing Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson of the Progressive Party said he would hand the president his resignation so that a new government can be formed.

Saturday’s election was called after then-Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned in April during public protests over his offshore holdings, revealed in the Panama Papers leak.

Gunnlaugsson’s Progressive Party was the election’s biggest casualty, losing more than half its seats in the Althingi as voters punished it for its links to the financial crash and corruption claims.

No party gained a parliamentary majority in an election dominated by public discontent at the establishment after years of financial crisis and political turmoil.

The Independence Party took 29 per cent of the vote and 21 of 63 parliament seats in results announced Sunday. Leader Bjarni Benediktsson said the party should be given a mandate by President Gudni Th. Johannesson to form a new coalition government.

The result was better than expected for the Independents, who have governed in coalition since 2013.

The Left-Green movement, with 15.9 per cent, will get 10 seats in a parliament that is shaping up to be evenly split between parties of the left and the right.

The Pirate Party — anti-authoritarian advocates of direct democracy and digital freedom — almost tripled their vote share from 5 per cent in 2015 to 14.5 per cent on Saturday, and will also get 10 seats in Iceland’s parliament, the Althingi.

The Pirates’ result fell short of what some polls had suggested — and what the party’s fleet of energetic volunteers and supporters had hoped. Like Spain’s Podemos or the movement behind Bernie Sanders in the U.S. presidential race, it drew in throngs of young supporters who ran the Pirates’ largely volunteer-driven campaign.

Iceland’s Pirate Party, founded four years ago by an assortment of hackers, political activists and internet freedom advocates, campaigned on promises to introduce direct democracy, subject the workings of government to more scrutiny and place the country’s natural resources under public ownership.

The party also backs tough rules to protect individuals from online intrusion. Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Pirates’ most senior lawmaker is a former ally of WikiLeaks who has called on Iceland to offer citizenship to U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Opponents argued that the inexperienced Pirates could scare off investors and destabilize the economy — a message that resonated with some voters.


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