Europe went to the polls on Sunday, May 25. All across the continent politicians held their collective breaths as voters considered the myriad options and candidates before them. For supporters of The Pirate Party it was no different. Hoping to equal or improve upon its last showing in European Parliamentary elections, The Pirate Party disappointed in Sunday’s EP vote. The Pirate Party surprised many in 2009 by winning two seats. It looked to take three or more seats this time. However, it was not to be. TPP came away with a single, solitary seat in an election that instead saw right wing, Euroskeptic parties making advances. The one victory it did achieve was registered in Germany where TPP polled a mere 1.4% of the ballots cast.
While unhappy with the outcome, The Pirate Party still maintained a voice, albeit a quiet one in the EP and was not totally disillusioned. After all, it is a relatively nascent organization and does not have the political machinery of the more established parties. Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party told TorrentFreak that,
’As a movement, we went from two seats to one, being ridiculously close to three seats. Still, there’s no points for a near-hit in any game. The most important thing was that there would be Pirates in the European Parliament after this election day, and we achieved that. The story continues, and there’s representation on the inside.’
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of TPP’s showing, but rather a realistic assessment of the results considering that it was on the ballot in more than a dozen countries.
There is faint hope for a reversal in the Czech Republic where TPP achieved 4.78% of the vote. Unfortunately, in that country 5% was the threshhold for claiming a seat in Brussels. Here the party has announced a challenge to the 5% mandate. Most disappointing was the news from Sweden, where it all started. Here Pirates polled only 2.2% of the ballots, down from more than 7% five years ago. Not enough to return to the EP.
Finland’s tally also disappointed with co-founder Peter Sunde, a very popular pirate, on the ballot. Sadly, he managed a paltry 0.7% of the vote, far less than needed for election to a seat. On the bright side was the showing in Luxembourg where TP garnered 4.23% of the vote. Though not enough to claim a seat, it will trigger funding from Europe in the years ahead- not a bad outcome and a goal of those in TPP beforehand.
So the focus is now on 27 year-old Julia Reda in Germany who will carry the banner for The Pirate Party for the next five years. As the lone representative of TPP she will have her work cut out for her, shouldering the responsibility of internet privacy. While TPP fell short of its aims overall, it can take heart in amassing more than a million votes across the continent, demonstrating that 2009 was no fluke.