Two more Pirate Parties are approaching electoral victory scenarios. Iceland’s Píratar is polling just below the parliamentary threshold for their elections one month out, and Croatia’s Piratska Stranka is polling at levels that may give it a seat in the European Parliament in three weeks. This is a very positive sign for the movement, as it is much harder for new countries to enter the political fray than it is to defend existing positions.
The Pirate Party movement is moving at glacial speed compared to normal internet communities, and yet with lightning speed compared to previous waves of political changes. In the UK, I learned that it took the Green Party movement 18 years (?) to get their first seat; meanwhile, it took our movement three and a half years until Christian Engström took office as Member of European Parliament, and yet from our perspective, that was insanely slow: after all, we are used to changing the world considerably in a weekend of intense coding.
On each success, we learn new things, just like we learn from each failed contestation for office. Every obstacle encountered is one we circumnavigate come next election, much to the disappointment of those who like to ridicule each of our non-successes (also known as our “learning by doing”).
One month ahead of the Berlin election success in the fall of 2011, I predicted (correctly) that even though the German Piratenpartei were polling at sub-parliamentary levels at the time, they would succeed since the media had discovered them as a credible newcomer.
The first shout-out for today goes to Pirate Party of Croatia, the Piratska Stranka, who are polling at 6.4% with elections on April 14. This is well above the psychological “wasted vote” barrier, and real parliamentary numbers. However, only twelve seats are up for grabs in the election – so come the election, six point four percent would be a coin toss whether they get one of the seats or not. It’s definitely doable, and I’d bet my money on success, but it’s far from a done deal at this point.
The more interesting thing is that those twelve seats are with the European Parliament, as part of Croatia’s accession to the European Union. Thus, the Croatian Pirate Party has a real shot at being the second Pirate Party represented in the European Parliament, which would be a huge boost to the movement’s influence (and to the Croatian Pirates).
The second shout-out goes to the Pirate Party of Iceland, the Píratar, founded by (among others) the Wikileaks activist and present Member of Parliament Birgitta Jónsdóttir. Their parliamentary election for the Icelandic parliament is on April 27, and they’re currently polling at 3.9%, with five per cent required for entry. This is one percent unit short of the barrier – but just like the German Piratenpartei started climbing one month ahead of the election once they caught the spotlights, the Icelandic Píratar can play the same scenario.
At present, only one Pirate Party has won seats at the national level: the Czech Pirate Party managed to put a Senator into office (which is a feat in itself). Having the Icelandic Píratar join the international community of election successes would be great for the movement as a whole.
As an international movement, the Pirate Parties are now present in 70 countries, contesting elections and making policy. As a movement who took its first baby steps in 2006, and had its first electoral victory in 2009, that is practically a wildfire spread of the ideas and organization. Still, the really hard thing for the movement is getting elected from more countries, generating more blueprints for success for the movement as a whole.
I’d be very happy to see Iceland and Croatia submitting such success blueprints in the coming month. While far from certain, it’s definitely within reach.