For the first time has a Pirate Party entered the political arena for real. With nine percent of the votes in the election in Berlin, the German Piratenpartei managed to get a good bit above the threshold limit and enters the Berlin Abgeordnetehaus where it will have 15 of the 152 seats in the parliament.
Is this the beginning of a new political movement getting a foothold in German and European politics, much like the green parties once started their road to become a serious part of the European political landscape, or is it only a temporary fad and more of a protest against the established parties? It is yet a little too early to tell. There certainly are signs that the issues that the pirate parties count as their core areas – personal integrity, data protection, net freedom and the likes – are growing in importance, much like during the 1970s and 1980s the environment got in focus. The question is if this new set has the momentum needed to foster a new political alignment. That the Pirate Party get their first real success in Berlin is in itself not all that surprising. The city has a relatively large number of people with alternative lifestyle views and on top of that a booming creative and internet-focused culture. Even so it still must be seen as somewhat surprising that almost one tenth of the voters chose to give their vote to this yet untested party. The future will tell if the Pirates manage to repeat their electorial success in other, more traditional parts of Germany or not.