Icelandic voters to choose between Pirates and establishment

Icelandic voters to choose between Pirates and establishment

Pirate lawmaker Birgitta Jonsdottir said the results were in line with the party's own prediction of between 12 and 15 percent - up from the 5 percent it secured in 2013.

With roughly a third of votes counted from Saturday's election, the Independence Party had about 30 percent of ballots and the Pirates just under 14 percent, putting them in third place behind the Left-Green movement.

The Independence party said it will now try to form the next government.

Current Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, who resigned on Sunday, said it would be "natural" for the president to look to the Independence Party.

But each of the polls, conducted by the University of Iceland, research company MMR and Gallup, indicate the incumbent conservative coalition government will probably be voted out.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) - There was no Pirate takeover, but the upstart party managed to make waves in Iceland.

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Like Spain's Podemos or the movement behind Bernie Sanders in the USA presidential race, it drew in throngs of mostly young supporters fed up with the status quo.

"I can not deny that if the results stay this way.it would be natural that we are a leading party in the next government", Benediktsson said.

The Pirates - founded less than four years ago as a protest movement against global copyright laws, and whose election campaign is partly crowdfunded - have 21 per cent in a Morgunbladid poll published on Friday.

Wiinifred Ajewole reports that Iceland's anti-establishment Pirate Party is in a tight race to become the largest party in parliament. "We can sense that the times are a-changing", said Ms Jonsdottir after casting her vote, quoting American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's anthem of civil rights and Vietnam War protests.

He told a news conference that the move was in line with the constitution, which provides for him to remain in office until a new government is established.

With a combined 29 seats, the coalition is now three short of a majority in parliament.

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The election was triggered by the resignation of the former prime minister, Sigmundur DaviĆ° Gunnlaugsson, from the Progressive party, who became the first major casualty of the Panama Papers in April after the leaked legal documents revealed he and his wife had millions stashed offshore.

The centre Regeneration Party, which could be the kingmakers in the election, garnered seven seats in the Icelandic parliament.

It's a worse result for the Pirates than some polls suggested, and a better performance than predicted for the Independents, who have governed in coalition since 2013.

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. "We are an innovative party that is trying new methods, and we took a lot of risks in order to stay true to ourselves".

Fuelled by a tourism boom, Iceland has recovered from its banking meltdown and economic growth this year is expected to hit 4.3 percent.

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