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After their surprising election success in the German capital Berlin, the pirate party continues to surge in the polls. In all recent federal polls the German pirates have been above the 5 percent election threshold and there is no end in sight.

When a TV crew from Russia Today had visited Berlin to film a short report on the pirate phenomenon, they also approached me as a “talking (research) head” on the issue. Unsurprisingly, only one sentence of the half an hour long interview made it into the segment featured below.

The reason the Russian TV crew had found me was this post-election blog post.

(leonhard)

Wehende Piratenpartei-Flagge Returning to Berlin from the Creative Commons Global Summit 2011 in Warsaw (see live-blogposts on the event), the political landscape of the city has been shaken by a Pirate Party election success. Two years ago, the German Pirate Party won 2 percent in the German federal election (see “Pirate Parties: Transnational mobilization and German elections“). Today, they boarded Berlin’s state parliament with 8.9 percent of the votes and 15 seats (see English Wikipedia). This is the first time the German Pirate Party was able to enter a state parliament, proving that the 2009 election results were not just a flash in the pan.

The dimension of the win was completely unexepected even for the Pirate Party, which is best illustrated by the following fun fact: the Berlin Pirate Party had only nominated 15 candidates for the state-wide election, all of which are now members of the parliament; had the Pirate Party won only one more seat it would not have been able to fill it.

The following Q&A is meant to give some background information to a non-German-speaking audience.

Is the success of the pirate party in Berlin only a regional exception?

Yes and No. Yes, because at least so far the German Pirate Party has only succeeded in urban areas and not at all on the state level –  even in city-states such as Hamburg it had not gotten more than 2.1 percent (see graph below). For now, the dimension of the election success of the Pirate Party in Berlin is a regional peculiarity.

No, because the German Pirate Party is part of a transnational movement critical of the prevalent regime of strong intellectual property rights protection (see, again, “Pirate Parties: Transnational mobilization and German elections“), which manifests in currently 22 official registered and about 25 still unregistered national pirate parties. Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
October 2019
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