Pirate Parties Win First Senator's Seat, Czech Win International Race

Czech Pirate Libor Michálek won his district’s election yesterday, and was thereby elected Senator. Michálek is a well-known fighter in the Czech Republic for transparency, human rights, and civil liberties, and was running for senate with the Czech Pirate Party. This also means that the Czech Pirate Party has won the international race to national-level legislatures.

Libor Michálek was elected in a two-step election in the Prague 2 and 3 district, the most-watched district in all of the Czech Republic. Michálek ran on a Pirate ballot, but was also supported by the Greens and Christian Democrats. In the first step, he got 24% and qualified for a runoff with his primary opponent. In the runoff on October 19 and 20, he got almost 75% of the votes – thus getting elected senator, a first for the Pirate Party movement.

The race for national parliaments between the Pirate Parties has been on since 2006, and it has remained uncertain which country’s Pirate Party would win it. In Sweden, the Piratpartiet put two people in the European Parliament in 2009 (winning the race to international parliaments), but failed spectacularly in the next year’s national-level elections. Germany, a longstanding favorite, has its Piratenpartei putting 45 people in state-level parliaments, but the national-level elections are not due for another year. In Netherlands, the Dutch Piratenpartij missed a seat in the national legislature by a mere 0,3%. This race is now over, and the Czech Pirátská Strana has won.

Congratulations on your new job, Senator Michálek!

From Czech Wikipedia, via Pirate Times:

Michálek is famous in his own country as a whistleblower for exposing corruption in 1996, when he worked for the National Property Fund. In 2010, his complaints about fraudulent manipulation of procurement and tendering led to the dismissal of ministers and top officials. In March 2011, he was awarded the Endowment Fund Against Corruption Prize. In May 2011, he was awarded the František Kriegel Award from Charter 77 for the outstanding achievements in the struggle for human rights and civil liberties.

In July 2012, he announced that he would stand for the Senate in District 26 as a Pirate. He went on to win the first round with 24.3% of the votes. In the second round, he was elected senator with 74.4% of the votes.

It is particularly noteworthy, especially for our American, Canadian, British, French, and Australian colleagues, that senator Michálek was elected in a first-past-the-post system.

This is important, because the initial Pirate Party concept assumed dependence on a different system. In most countries in Europe, if you get 5% of the votes nationwide, you get 5% of the seats in parliament. This is called proportional representation. Some countries – like the US – have a completely different system, where you need a majority in a certain area (a constituency) to get a single seat. This is called first-past-the-post, and obviously, getting 51% of the vote in a fairly large area is a completely different ballgame than getting 5% nationwide.

We have long known that we are capable of getting 5% of the vote. As of today, we know that we’re also capable of winning first-past-the-post elections and getting 51%, even in capitals.

“This means that Pirates have gained representation in the Senate. Libor Michálek is now facing the difficult task of working with making the financial affairs of the state and public institutions fully transparent. As a senator, he will also have better access to documents, and we expect that he will continue to draw attention of the public to the current problems and cases”, says Jakub Michálek, 1st vice president of the Czech Pirates – and a namesake of Libor Michálek – in a press release.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. suchenwi

    Correction on current mandates in German regional parliaments:
    20 Nordrhein-Westfalen
    15 Berlin
    6 Schleswig-Holsten
    4 Saarland

    45 total
    Also, not to forget, the roughly 200 mandates in city/county assemblies :^)

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Thanks – I had that number in the back of my head, but it must have been a ballpark number.

      Let’s definitely not forget the some 200 people on local councils across Europe.

  2. jimbo

    congratulations! now let’s see more reps voted into office in many more countries!

  3. Birgitta

    Great news. Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come: pirate parties worldwide:)

  4. Martin

    BUT, people in Czech Republic don´t vote for Michálek for his Pirate program. They vote for him as an opposition againt government. It seems as a big difference to me.

    1. suchenwi

      Well, Michálek agreed to being nominated by the Pirates, as listed on the official results page. The support of Greens and Christian Democrats came later.

    2. Scary Devil Monastery

      The thing is that the Pirate Party platform IS in essence government opposition in any place where the government is treating it’s citizenry with unabashed contempt.

      Which is apparently going over well in many EU countries these days. Not surprisingly.

  5. DannyUfonek

    Very good, I went to vote for him on Friday 😀
    However, don’t forget Libor Michálek is only 33,3% Pirate, so although he’ll fight for transparency, I seriously doubt if we’ll get to the other core Pirate ideas. (which isn’t so much of a problem at this stage though)
    Michálek’s presence in the Senate will also bring a lot of money to ČPS(Czech Pirate Party).

    1. Scary Devil Monastery

      The greens in most countries are quite close to pirate ideology – it’s just that they are focused on environmental issues, not informatics. As We’ve seen in the EU parliament, those two concepts come together well.

      So perhaps Michalék will actually be 100% pirate on the informatics, 100% green on environmental issues, and 100% Christian democrat on the rest?

  6. Ondrej

    he cannot be called a ‘Pirate’. he’s a former government official who acted bravely against corruption in at least two big cases. and now he received support for the election from three smaller parties, Pirates among them.

  7. Antti Impiö

    There will be municipal elections in Finland next sunday. Pirates have 121 candidates in 20 muncipalities. We are hoping to get elected in multiple muncipalities, best changes are in the largest cities with highest ratio of young voters.

  8. luke

    “Michálek is a well-known fighter in the Czech Republic for transparency, human rights, and civil liberties”

    Blah blah blah.. so far he is known only for recording his boss and giving it to media. And he was primarily candidate for Christian Democrats which are law and order type of party.

  9. Andrew Norton

    It’s slightly different from the UK as well. Mainly it’s the runoff requirement that he get a majority. In the UK, that’s not required. To win a seat you just have to have the most votes of all the candidates.

    In the US, runoffs do happen when someone doesn’t have a majority of the votes cast, but it’s not so much a problem of the FPTP system there as one of campaign finance. A typical Senate seat in the US costs $18Million, even if you’re a republican with a ‘safe’ seat (such as here in Georgia). By contrast, the US House still needs a MILLION DOLLARS for any chance of victory, for a two year seat. Of course, my figures may be completely off and low, because this wlil be the first presidential year election (which are always more costly than the mid-terms) since Citizens United enabled the SuperPACs. I’ll do a campaign finance piece here in maybe a month (or two, if there’s been any runoffs)

  10. […] Rick Falkvinge, Pirate Party founder and TorrentFreak Columnist was also eager to point out another fact which many may overlook – Michálek is the first politician elected under FPTP with […]

  11. Mluvíte Ahrrr?

    […] Pirate Party candidate has won a spot in the Czech Senate. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Democracy, IP, Left-Libertarian. Bookmark the […]

  12. harveyed

    * First pirate politician on a national level: Czech 😉

  13. Max Pont

    Why have the Pirate Parties been silent about TPP, the new secret treaty that is as bad as ACTA? Even though it is an US-centric agreement it will most certainly be expanded to Europe once in place.

    Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement:

    Stop the Corporate Death Star:

  14. First Past The Post

    The article mischaracterizes First Past the Post. It means the person with the most wins – majority not required.

  15. Anonymous

    If the Pirate Parties have so good support abroad, then how come here in Sweden the statistics show the Pirate Party has almost no support, and if one ever speaks about privacy in Sweden, that person is with very few exceptions immediately suspected of being a criminal by those he speaks to?

  16. […] Pirate Parites Win First Senator’s Seat, Czech Win International Race (Falkvinge) […]

  17. […] első Kalózpárt alapítója és a TorrentFreak szerkesztője Rick Falkvinge rámutatott, Michálek sikere azért is egyedülálló, mert ő az első – FPTP* rendszerben mandátumot […]

  18. First Pirate Party Senator Elected in the Czech Republic

    […] Rick Falkvinge, Pirate Party founder and TorrentFreak Columnist was also eager to point out another fact which many may overlook – Michálek is the first politician elected under FPTP with […]

  19. […] a couple in the European parliament, and the Czechs managed to pull together a coalition to elect a pirate senator. But Iceland has topped them all: The Nordic nation’s 63-member parliament now has three members […]

  20. […] 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 […]

Comments are closed.