In the European Pirate Parties’ race for the first national parliament seat, an unexpected contender has appeared as a possible winner: the Netherlands. The Dutch Piratenpartij just had its first poll showing it would get a parliamentary seat in the September elections.
The Pirate Parties are gaining seats on more levels and in more countries all the time. While it is arguably still a nascent movement, the parties are still quite respectably represented. It started with two seats in the European Parliament from Sweden in 2009, then a number of local seats until the big bang in Berlin in the fall of 2011, after which the German Piratenpartei has had a string of solid successes at beating Germany’s five-percent threshold for parliamentary entry, gaining seats in state-level parliaments there.
There are pirates on local city councils in Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Spain.
The movement has also had its first government seat – Slim Amamou, Secretary of State for Sports and Youth in Tunisia. Noteworthily, this was in Northern Africa, and not in Europe.
Many Pirate Parties are polling at one-half to two per cent. This may seem insignificant, but getting to this level is immensely harder than getting from two to five per cent of the vote.
An interesting situation has appeared in the Netherlands – the Dutch go to the elections on September 12 of this year. Now, the Dutch Piratenpartij doesn’t have as impressive numbers as its German counterpart, but it is assisted by a particular feature of the Dutch political system: there is no threshold for entry to parliament. If you earn your seat, there’s no further cutoff.+