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Pirate Party Surge Falls Short as Icelanders Back Stability

• bloomberg.com by Omar Valdimarsson

The ruling Independence Party emerged as the winner in Iceland's snap election, surviving a surge by the populist Pirate Party in a vote for stability as the nation emerges from eight years of economic turmoil.

With all the votes counted, the Independence Party rose to 29 percent from 26.7 percent in 2013, while their outgoing coalition partner, the Progressive Party, slumped to 11.5 percent from 24.4 percent. The Pirates jumped to 14.5 percent from 5.1 percent in 2013 but fell well short of pre-election polling. New parties such as Revival also captured a significant number of votes. Bad weather reduced turnout to 79.2 percent from 81.9 percent in 2013.

Sunday's results mean neither the government nor the left-wing opposition have a majority in the 63-member parliament, the Althing, setting the nation up for broad talks on how to form a new ruling coalition. Iceland has been ruled by two-party coalitions since 1991, but the next government will necessarily need the backing of at least three parties.

The outcome of the election was seen as another defeat for pollsters, who exaggerated the support for the Pirate Party after failing to correctly predict the outcome of the 2015 general election in the U.K. Pollsters were also blamed for not accurately predicting the outcome of the June referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

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