Free wireless Internet and public transport; voting rights for over-14s: just some of the policies of the “Pirate Party”, which has spectacularly won its first seats in a German state Parliament.
Hailed by mass circulation daily Bild as an “election sensation”, the party clinched around nine per cent of the vote in Sunday's regional poll in Berlin, which was won by the Social Democrats and their popular Mayor Klaus Wowereit.
The Pirates, a youth movement with origins in Scandinavia and active in 20 countries, has been in Germany for five years and is beginning to shed its image as a “party for geeks”.
The win has thrust the party into the limelight. “From IT-nerd to full-time politician,” said the Financial Times Deutschland online edition.
Its supporters and leaders are young and well-educated — most of those who voted for the party were under 30, according to an election analysis.
“Our grace period is over,” Matthias Schrade, a senior member told AFP.
“Now we have to show that we want to get things moving.” The party can expect to secure around 15 seats in the 130-seat Berlin regional Parliament.
Campaigning mainly via the Internet, the Pirates spent less than a quarter of the €1.7 millions ($2.3 millions) shelled out by the victorious SPD party. Their manifesto can be summed up in one word: “Transparency”. “We want to make public all data, all administrative procedures,” said Martin Delius, a 27-year-old IT engineer.