Swedish Pirate Party Wins 2 Seats in EU Parliament
Jun 7 2009
Survey says 12% of men and 4% of women voted for the Pirate Party, which wants to “fundamentally reform copyright law” and “ensure that citizens’ rights to privacy are respected.”
Fallout from the conviction of Swedish BitTorrent tracker site the Pirate Bay for the facilitation of copyright infringement has reached critical mass with news that the Pirate Party captured 7.1% of the votes in EU Parliament elections.
“The polls beforehand had us at between eight and nice percent, but everything over four percent is a political sensation,” said Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party.
It’s enough for at least 1 of the available Swedish seats in the legislative body.
An astonishing 19% of the voters under the age of 30 are said to have voted for the Pirate Party, making it the “biggest party among young people, bigger than both the Social Democrats and the Moderates,” said politics professor Sören Holmberg.
The jubilation inside Pirate Party HQ was immediate, and despite previous polls and studies indicating a win of at least 7%, even Falkvinge was amazed.
“We’ve felt the wind blow in our sails,” he said afterwards. “We’ve seen the polls prior to the election. But to stand here, today, and see the figures coming up on that screen… What do you want me to say? I’ll say anything.”
He observed that it was a statement about the tension between Swedish youth and older politicians, between those that have grown up immersed in a digital world and those that haven’t.
“Together, we have today changed the landscape of European politics,” Falkvinge added. “No matter how this night ends, we have changed it. This feels wonderful. The citizens have understood it’s time to make a difference. The older politicians have taken apart young peoples’ lifestyle, bit by bit. We do not accept that the authorities’ mass-surveillance.”
Many have pointed to the trial of The Pirate Bay as one major reason for the surge in popularity of the Pirate Party.
Many of the country’s youth have been angered over what they see as an intrusion by foreign, primarily US-based, entertainment industry conglomerates into the private affairs of a sovereign country. They understand that copyright laws were essentially written in a world before digital content that no longer exists, and that ultimately paralyze the ability of citizens to freely communicate and interact with one another.
Also adding fuel to the fire was the disclosure that the presiding judge in the Pirate Bay trial, Judge Tomas Norström, is an active member of several pro-copyright groups, rendering his decision anything but unbiased in the eyes of many.