Pirate Party Pulls Big Booty in Berlin Election
BONN, Germany (CN) - The Pirate Party has climbed onto the German political stage with a surprise win of nearly 9 percent of seats in the German capital city's parliament.
The nascent political party won 8.9 percent of the vote on Sunday's election in Berlin, far surpassing the "5 percent hurdle" to entering parliament, known as the Abgeordnetenhaus, as explained by national law.
Based on a core platform of patent law reform, privacy rights, transparency in government and free Internet access, the Pirate Party also promotes legalization of marijuana, a guaranteed basic income and free transport for all Berliners.
Described by some as a "protest party," the Pirates' Berlin win stands in contrast to the massive losses suffered by the Free Democrats, Germany's center-right party, in the capital city.
From 7.6 percent in 2006, the Free Democrats' share of votes this election sank to a mere 1.8 percent, meaning that it won't get a single seat in Berlin.
Pirate Party head Sebastian Nerz on Sunday compared the win with that of the Greens 30 years ago, German magazine Der Spiegel reported.
The Greens' popularity grew quickly among German voters since its foundation in 1980. Starting in the late '90s, the Greens participated in the ruling coalition for two terms. Today they hold about 11 percent of seats in the national parliament.
On the heels of the Pirates' weekend haul, the party also indicated its plan to campaign for the Bundestag, Germany's national parliamentary body.
The next federal elections in Germany will take place in October 2013.
The first Pirate Party was founded 2006 in Sweden and won around 7 percent of the country's vote in the 2009 European Parliament elections, gaining the party a seat on the EU-wide body.
Pirate Parties International was founded in Brussels last year to coordinate Pirate parties around the world. On its website, it lists more than 50 countries that either have or are forming a Pirate Party.