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Iceland Elects Three Pirate Party MPs

Iceland has become the first country to elect members of parliament from the Pirate Party — an international online freedom movement.

Three Pirate Party MPs will take seats following historic polls in Iceland that saw a new coalition come to power on a promise of easing economic austerity measures.

According to The Associated Press:

"The conservative Independence Party and rural-based Progressive Party — who governed Iceland for decades before the 2008 [economic] crash — each had 19 seats in Iceland's 63-seat parliament, the Althingi. ...

"The pro-Europe Bright Future party took six seats and online freedom advocates the Pirate Party three."

The Financial Times says that with Icelandic households struggling with one of the highest rates of indebtedness in Europe, "the Independence party favors temporary tax breaks on mortgage interest."

"The new government will also have to deal with the knotty issue of the island's capital controls, introduced as a temporary measure to protect the krona five years ago but still in place. Business blames them for a lack of investment, which in turn is holding back economic growth."

The News of Iceland says the Icelandic Pirate Party is the first such party in the world to gain seats in a national legislature. The new Pirate Party MPs include a WikiLeaks volunteer, a university student and a computer programmer.

The online newspaper says the parties also exist in Austria, Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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