Founded in September 2006, the German Pirate Party has already booked several successes in its relatively short existence. The party currently has 50 members in elected offices across Germany for example, which is more than in all other countries combined.
However, thus far the Pirate Party hasn’t managed to get a member elected in a state or federal parliament. With 845,904 votes during the 2009 federal elections, the party got stuck at 2 percent of the vote, where 5 was needed to enter the Bundestag.
But this year the local success of the Pirate Party may finally translate into a success at the state elections. With only four weeks to go until the Berlin state parliament election, the Pirate Party is predicted to gain 4.5 percent of the total vote.
If this upward trend continues and the 5 percent floor is met, the German Pirates will be the first Pirate Party worldwide to gain seats in a state or national parliament. The party’s leaders are cautiously optimistic about the promising outlook, but also warn that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“We are delighted that our demands for more transparency, participation and democracy for the people of Berlin are shared by the public. The Berlin people want change, and they recognize that a vote for the Pirate Party is not wasted,” Pirate Party’s Gerhard Anger said.
“With this poll result we are not in the state parliament yet. However, it is an important step in the right direction. We have to work hard in the next four weeks. In order to see the results of this poll reflected in actual votes on election day, we still have to keep on going,” Anger adds.
Previously the German Pirate Party already held a seat in the national parliament when Jörg Tauss left the Social Democrats to join the pirates. However, having people voted into parliament through an election would be an even bigger accomplishment.
Rick Falkvinge, the Swedish founder of the Pirate Party movement compares the current standing of the German pirates to that of the Swedish Pirate Party in 2009. They were also labeled as a likely sensation by the press, and this eventually paid off as they got more than 7% of the total vote.
“Newspapers are now describing the Pirate Party as ‘the likely surprise of this election’. There are positive articles everywhere describing it as just short of a done deal, and I predict this will have an immense effect in the polls in the four remaining weeks,” Falkvinge says.
Whether the German pirates can copy this success will become clear on September 18, when the results of the Berlin state elections come in.