• Germany's news in English

Rookie Pirate politicians dazzled by success

The Local · 19 Sep 2011, 16:06

Published: 19 Sep 2011 16:06 GMT+02:00

Outside the Pirate Party’s Berlin headquarters, frazzled young, new politicians scurried back and forth from reporter to reporter and interview to interview on Monday morning.

Martin Delius, a 27-year-old student, who is about to become one of the party’s 15 representatives in Berlin’s state parliament admitted being overwhelmed by the results.

“We were expecting some success,” he said. “But this was more than we could have dreamed.”

Having won nearly nine percent of the vote in Berlin’s state elections Sunday, the Pirates have just scored one of their biggest victories ever. They’ll have 15 of 149 seats in the state parliament – important because the high-profile legislature often punches above its weight in German federal politics.

Delius admitted that he and his colleagues were not yet sure how they were going to make a concrete difference in the everyday lives of constituents.

“To be honest, we don’t know how we’ll do this,” he said. “This is something totally new. We just know people believed in our issues. We have to figure out how to solve problems now.”

Their inexperience was clear on Monday as the Pirates’ operations sometimes seemed to be bordering on chaos. Members said they were prepared to work hard, but other than proposing a lower voting age, free public transportation and free wireless internet, they seemed to have few concrete plans for what they wanted to get done.

At a sometimes raucous press conference in Berlin’s parliamentary building, the new parliamentarians, all but one of whom are men, said they were still working out what their next steps would be

“We are relatively fresh here and we’re not really used to this,” admitted Andreas Baum, the party’s 32-year-old leader in Berlin, as photographers crowded him for pictures.

But Berlin's Pirates are now at the vanguard for the nascent international movement. Formed in Sweden in 2006, it preaches transparency in government, freedom on the internet and privacy for regular people. Its biggest success so far has been getting two members voted into the European Parliament.

Swedish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge told The Local that the Berlin election was “major step upwards” and “a big leap” for the movement. He said he envisioned more electoral victories throughout Europe.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Berlin win will translate into further success for the Pirates elsewhere, one political expert told The Local.

They face a major learning curve – and dose of reality about what they can and can't get done – in the often creaky parliamentary system, said Dr. Nils Diederich, professor emeritus of political science at the Free University of Berlin.

“They’re obviously intelligent, but they will have to learn from the ground up and it won’t be easy,” Diedrich said. “These people don’t yet have any idea how parliamentary work takes place.”

Some have criticised the Pirates for not really having a political platform, saying they are nothing more than a joke party attracting protest votes from young people – exit polls showed most Pirates’ supporters were in their early 20s.

Will the pirates be able to make real change or fizzle out like so many upstart political movements have over the years?

Baum had a ready response to a question about the party’s legitimacy: “People should just wait until the first meeting in parliament and see what happens.”

Story continues below…

Moises Mendoza



With reporting by Peter Vinthagen Simpson

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:43 September 19, 2011 by neunElf
"Free" public transportation and wifi?

The people who do not pay to support society, the youth, have no problem spending the hard earned money of the dinosaur drones who do!

I think that only people who are NET TAX CONTRIBUTORS, should be allowed to vote.

If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on the support of Paul!
18:31 September 19, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Obviously, this group will be difficult to corrupt with offers of anything 'free'.

I hope they'll keep a steady stream of Scarlett Jonhansson pictures coming.
18:32 September 19, 2011 by Krim
They are new and without experience. However they do not talk like perrots.

They will be adopted soon by the big machine and we will have the new IT perrots.

Wait an see
19:36 September 19, 2011 by Englishted

post a link I have not found the photos.
19:39 September 19, 2011 by The-ex-pat
19:36 September 19, 2011 by Englishted


post a link I have not found the photos.

I am told you need to turn of safe search..................................lol
01:19 September 20, 2011 by beeker
Arrrh! How bout free rum? and don't forget the busty wenches. Just missed "Talk Like a Pirate Day" http://www.talklikeapirate.com/
20:40 September 25, 2011 by kr77
""Free" public transportation and wifi? The people who do not pay to support society, the youth, have no problem spending the hard earned money of the dinosaur drones who do!"

Why not? How do you think roads are paid for? Your opera house? Your churches? Your historical buildings? They are all "free" because they are paid for from taxes.

We can reduce subsidies for those things and direct the money where it actually matters, namely WiFi and public transportation. And I say that as someone who probably pays a lot more taxes than you.
04:23 September 27, 2011 by Bill Simpson
You may want to build some liquified natural gas terminals before he takes office again. Or buy a lot of heavy winter clothing. Just saying.
Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd