When the Swedish Pirate Party was founded in early 2006, the majority of the mainstream press was skeptical, with some simply laughing it away.
But they were wrong to dismiss this political movement right off the bat.
Following their victory at the local elections, the Swedish Pirate Party secured a seat at the European Parliament in 2009, with another one being added a year later. The success inspired people in other countries to form their own Pirate parties.
Over the years “Pirates” have cemented their place in the political arenas of Germany, Iceland, Czech Republic, and several other countries. Their influence reaches from regional districts all the way up to the European Parliament.
Czech Pirates Rise
The Czech Pirates have been particularly successful in recent years. A few years ago the party took on a local anti-piracy outfit by launching their own movie download site, making the point that linking is not a crime, and a lot has been achieved since then.
During the 2017 national elections, more than 10% of the public voted for the Pirate Party and there are currently three Czech Pirates in the European Parliament. On top of that, the mayor of the country’s capital Prague is also a Pirate.
This year, polls indicated that over a quarter of all votes could go to the Pirates in the parliamentary election, where it formed a coalition with the liberal STAN party. With these numbers in mind, it was somewhat of a disappointment when the party ended up with ‘just’ 15% of the vote.
Pirate Party Enters Czech Government
Nonetheless, the Czech Pirates managed to achieve another major milestone a few days ago. After several weeks of formation discussions, the party changed its opposition role for a spot in the Government.
This is the first time in history that a Pirate Party forms part of a government coalition, which is a major achievement. While the Pirates are certainly not the largest government party, they managed to fill three ministerial positions.
Czechia’s new Prime Minister, Petr Fiala, inaugurated Pirate Party Chairman Ivan Bartoš as the Minister of Regional Development. In addition, Bartoš will also take the role of Deputy Prime Minister for Digitization.
The two other ministerial positions are filled by Jan Lipavský, who becomes the new Foreign Affairs Minister, and Michal Šalomoun, who was appointed Minister and Chairman of the Government’s Legislative Council.
Pirates Have Evolved
While the Pirate Party has its roots in the Swedish movement that once sided with The Pirate Bay, it has long since transformed into much more than that. Today’s main pillars include political transparency, civil rights, and direct democracy, among other things.
Transparency and civil rights were also mentioned as key issues by the three new ministers. Thus far we haven’t seen any new comments regarding ‘piracy’ issues, but passing stricter copyright laws will probably not be on the political agenda in Czechia in the coming years.