From Wikipedia:

The party was cofounded on 24 November 2012 by Birgitta Jónsdóttir (previously a member of the Movement), and several prominent Internet activists, including Smári McCarthy. The party successfully applied for the ballot list letter Þ (resembling the party's logo) in order to run in the 2013. In July 2016 the party requested and was issued the letter P for future elections.

I thought it was nice how they officially used the letter Þ. What are the publicly stated reasons to switch to the (more conventional) letter P?

  • 8
    Maybe they found out that the Þ, while looking like a P, is actually a letter representing roughly the modern English th sound, thus making little sense representing a party whose name starts with a p?
    – oerkelens
    Jun 15, 2017 at 18:26
  • It appears the thorn is a regular part of Icelandic orthography: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorn_(letter)#Icelandic
    – origimbo
    Jun 15, 2017 at 18:32
  • 2
    When 5% of your day is spent explaining "it's a Þ not a 'P'", you know you aren't spending the time achieving your goals, whatever they are. (citation: personal experience. I'm someone with hard to pronounce or spell last name).
    – user4012
    Jun 15, 2017 at 18:47
  • 1
    @SJuan76 It's right there!
    – gerrit
    Jun 15, 2017 at 20:00
  • 2
    @oerkelens if they just found that out in 2016 they must have been really poor students in elementary school.
    – phoog
    Oct 12, 2019 at 4:09

1 Answer 1


It was done most likely to reduce spoilt ballots.

In Iceland votes are cast by writing or stamping the letter of the party list (Article 62) on the ballot paper. The letters are chosen by the ministry of Justice, following consultation with the Parties. Some parties would like to choose the first letter of their name. For example, the Social Democratic Alliance Samfylkingin uses "S". Using American party names, if Democrats were "D" and Republians were "R" and one voted by writing "D" or "R" on the ballot. Other parties seem to try to be near the top of the list by choosing "A", "B" or "C". Bright Future Björt framtíð use "A".

Previously the Pirate party had used the "Thorn" (a regular and common letter in Icelandic), apparently because it looks similar to a pirate flag. This could have resulted in spoilt ballots, as voters might expect the "P"irate party to use "P". (suppose the Democrats had decided to use the letter "O", the potential for confusion and people writing "D" in error is clear.

The Pirate Party logo, based on one from Sweden, originally represented a "P", but to Icelandic eyes may look closer to a "Þ", The graphical similarity of the letters cannot have lessened the potential for confusion. It may also indicate the development of the party from a fringe organisation to a mainstream movement.


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