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Iceland’s most popular party wants to give Edward Snowden citizenship

Will this affect politics in the country?


Eric Geller


Posted on Mar 19, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 6:39 am CDT

The Icelandic political party that wants to grant citizenship to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and radically reform copyright law is now the country’s most popular party.

A new survey from the Icelandic research firm MMR found that 23.9 percent of Icelanders supported the Pirate Party, compared to 23.4 percent for the Independence Party. This represents a substantial change from the last MMR survey, which found the Pirate Party in second place with 12.8 percent and the Independence Party leading with 23.4 percent.

“To be completely honest, I don’t know why we enjoy so much trust,” said Birgitta Jonsdottir, one of three Pirate Party representatives in the Icelandic Parliament. “We are all just as surprised, thankful and take this as a sign of mistrust towards conventional politics.”

The Pirate Party has not taken many stances on contemporary Icelandic issues. Instead, it advocates for radical changes to broader political problems, such as copyright law, patent protection, and government transparency.

In early July 2013, less than a month after the first of the documents Snowden leaked to journalists became public, Pirate Party legislator Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson introduced a bill to grant Snowden Icelandic citizenship. The bill did not pass a preliminary vote.

The party’s Twitter account regularly retweets news articles about civil liberties issues, from French censorship to American surveillance backdoors.

Photo via Sarah Ackerman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Mar 19, 2015, 2:37 pm CDT