January this year Kim Dotcom launched his Internet Party with an ambition to enter the New Zealand Parliament a few months later.
The Internet entrepreneur could not run for election himself, but as the party’s president and visionary he would gain significant political power.
Today New Zealanders went out to vote and the Internet Party was listed on the ballots in an alliance with the Mana Party.
Voting booths officially closed at 7 PM local time and the provisional results show that Internet Mana failed to win a seat.
The party managed 1.26% of the total vote, somewhat short of the 5% required to enter the New Zealand Parliament. A disappointing result after Dotcom spent more than $2 million on the party and its election campaign.
Over the past several weeks Internet Mana received a lot of attention in the press. Dotcom actively campaigned against his arch-rival Prime Minister John Key, and earlier this week the party organized the “Moment of Truth” during which Edward Snowden, Glen Greenwald and Julian Assange all criticized New Zealand’s secret spying efforts.
Despite the heavy critique of the Prime Minister, Key’s National Party became the overwhelming winner of the elections with nearly half of all votes.
Following the defeat Dotcom apologized to Mana leader Hone Harawira and the Maori people. Mr Harawira lost his Parliament seat and Dotcom suggests that he may be to blame for the disappointing result.
“I take full responsibility,” Dotcom said in a short speech. “The brand Kim Dotcom was poisoned … and I did not see that before the last couple of weeks.”
After his speech Dotcom left the building, declining interview requests from local reporters.
In a tweet Dotcom later congratulated the Prime Minister and his National Party on their win.
“New Zealanders have chosen National and John Key to lead. I congratulate the Prime Minister. Please do your best for all Kiwis. Good luck,” he wrote.
Responding to the results Internet Party leader Laila Harre said that the party’s policy went unreported in the media, which mostly focused on scandals and the dirty games being played.
Harre thanked Dotcom for the opportunity to shake up New Zealand politics. She said that Dotcom became the symbol of Internet Mana, but that the party likely underestimated the impact this would have on the campaign.
“There’s been a two-year campaign of vilification of Kim and that was clearly impacted on our campaign,” Harre noted.