• 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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd