back to article Icelandic Pirate Party sails away from attempt to form government

Iceland's Pirate Party (Píratar) has sailed away from an attempt to form a government for the nation. Píratar was given a mandate to form government after Iceland's elections ended in a stalemate and the two parties that won more votes were unable to cobble together a working majority. President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge


    How about a trade? We'll take Iceland's stalemate and trade for the incoming government here in the States? Maybe the Brits might want to consider a counter-offer also?

    1. Cynical Observer

      Re: Trade?

      Swapping Cowboys for Pirates?

      What's the worst that could happen?

      Any Vandals want to get in on this?

      1. Ogi

        Re: Trade?

        > Swapping Cowboys for Pirates?

        > What's the worst that could happen?

        Hmm... needs more Ninja's. Then things could get interesting...

        1. Fungus Bob

          Re: Trade?

          Needs more cowbell!

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Trade?

            And Fungus Bob for the win!!!!

  2. Youngone Silver badge


    I think I should admire all involved here as they've stood by their principles instead of accepting roles as Cabinet Ministers (along with the extra money) in a coalition they have no real faith in.

    However, I am also prepared to accept that I have missed some skillful piece of self-interest as we are talking about politicians here.

    1. Nolveys

      Re: Nice

      I think I should admire all involved here as they've stood by their principles instead of accepting roles as Cabinet Ministers (along with the extra money) in a coalition they have no real faith in.

      I also get the initial impression that Iceland's government seems to kind of actually work properly. Trouble is that this is so far out of my experience that my body rejects it and I return once again to bitter cynicism.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: this is so far out of my experience that my body rejects it

        Well, Iceland's population is 336,060 (June 2016) and some 60% of that live in and around Reykjavik.

        So it's actually possible and not that difficult to know your representatives personally. I guess that helps a lot.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        Well, if they do what happened in Spain, there were elections, nobody agreed with anyone, elections were repeated, nobody agreed with anyone, elections were repeated, and finally as enough people got bored and didn't vote the last time, it tipped the balance towards the incumbent party and the incumbent opposition party imploded. So I'd hold onto your cynicism for the moment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice

          And then, General Franco won the civil war.

        2. fandom

          Re: Nice

          It 'only' took two elections

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice

        It hasn't always been the case. The Icelandic legislature - certainly up until the Kreppa (crash) - was notorious for its links to big business, banks and especially the fishing industry. In such a small country, there's a very high chance that either you are a blood relative to, through marriage, business partner or school friend of someone who would appreciate favours when you get into power.

        There has been an unhealthy concentration of power in Iceland, called 'The Octopus'; first amongst fourteen families (most with fortunes built on the fishing quota distribution) and then by three big corporate entities run by just three families. Björgólfur Gudmundsson and his son, Thor Björgólfsson ran the Landsbanki bank (remember IceSave???); Johannes Jonsson and his son, Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson ran Baugur, and Íslandsbanki (later renamed Glitnir); and Lydur Gudmundsson and his brother, Ágúst Gudmundsson who had major shares in the third big bank, Kaupþing.

        All of them knew one another very well, all of them had business interests with the other and some of them had borrowed money from their friends' banks to build their businesses. So when one business failed, the hugely leveraged corporations built around them also collapsed and that took down not just one, but all three of the major banks in Iceland.

        And who had been running the Central Bank of Iceland that was meant to prevent this sort of thing? One Davíð Oddsson, previously been Prime Minister for the conservative Independence Party. When it was clear his position at the Bank was untenable, a friend appointed him editor of the main newspaper Morgunblaðið despite no journalistic experience. There, with the backing of the paper's owners, he forced huge numbers of resignations, but used that position to attack the coalition government that was trying to put the country's economy back on track after his mismanagement. He did a good job as the coalition lost the next election and - the Independence Party got back into power and started the same old policies again.

        Davíð then went for the Presidency, but fortunately he was beaten by the current holder Gudni Johannesson.

    2. Adam 1

      Re: Nice

      I can't comment on Iceland specifically, but generally speaking minor parties would be weighing up the short term influence they would hold in a coalition against the base who get angry when their hobby horse issues are horse traded. Many minor parties who find themselves in a coalition or even guaranteeing support in a hung parliament find their own base abandons them at the next election. Add to that that many minor parties don't have an obvious viewpoint on issues not in their field of concern means they can find their candidates splitting on those issues (particularly in a hung parliament where every vote counts). The leader might agree to some trade deal only for someone else in the party to vote against it.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Nice

      "I think I should admire all involved here as they've stood by their principles instead of accepting roles as Cabinet Ministers (along with the extra money) in a coalition they have no real faith in."

      Alternative view: they have been elected to govern and they're not doing it. Do they get money for not doing what they were elected to do?

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Fear not

    The Donald [TM] will happily govern Iceland via Twitter, for a huuuuge fee, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fear not

      But only if they rename it "Trumpland."

  4. Ole Juul

    government wanted

    Have you tried putting an ad in the paper?

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: government wanted

      How about getting the Eve Online players to form the government?

      They have all the skills: economics, defence, construction and, er,c spreadsheets...

  5. GrapeBunch

    Like sports teams

    Back in the day, I thought Canada should trade then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to Nicaragua straight up for President Daniel Ortega. Mulroney would have calmed Washington from backing the Contra terrorists, and Ortega would have done fine with Canada. "What is the commotion, gentlemen? Canada is a fortunate country with only minor problems."

    Trading Trump plus 50 billion to Iceland for Birgitta Jónsdóttir? Personnel-wise, it's sad for Iceland, but 50 billion is 50 billion.

  6. Arachnoid


    Shiver me timbers Pirates unable to come to an agreement what is this, the next episode of Pirates of the Caribbean me heartys?

  7. Maryland, USA

    We Yanks should be so lucky

    But our ship of fools is raising the flag.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem here

    Iceland's constitution doesn't allow for minority governments, but one way or another that's what needs to happen here.

  9. maffski

    Two birds. One stone.

    Iceland (the country) are currently trying to sue Iceland (the food shop) for the use of the name.

    Iceland (the food shop) like the name and don't want to loose it.

    Iceland (the country) has no functioning leadership.

    Iceland (the food shop) has an effective leadership.

    The simple solution - merge - Iceland gets to keep it's name and Iceland get's a new government.

    Bonus - Guinness record for the worlds largest supermarket.

    1. wheelybird

      Re: Two birds. One stone.

      To be fair, Iceland agreed years and years ago that Iceland (food) could be called Iceland for the purpose of selling food. But Iceland (food) is branching out and its other ventures are keeping the branding. So Iceland (country) are a bit miffed about this and asked Iceland (food) to stop. They think that people could confuse the new ventures as being endorsed by Iceland (country) which is fair enough.

  10. The Nazz

    Take a leaf out of Belgium's book

    In recent times, didn't Belgium go without a formal government for some 2 and a half years? Without much going wrong?

    Mind you, some may say not much went right.

    Conclusion, governments are overrated.

    Especially those members who sell their soul to the coalition devil.

  11. GrapeBunch

    Come on, Iceland (the nation), we love you.


    There is a tide in the affairs of men.

    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

    Omitted, all the voyage of their life

    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

    On such a full sea are we now afloat,

    And we must take the current when it serves,

    Or lose our ventures.

    Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224

    It's impossible to do a double-blind study, but I wonder if the principals watched Monty Python before their meeting, perhaps Iceland would have a government at the end of it. So, grasp the nettle, eat the fermented shark.

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