Saturday, August 15, 2009

Swedish Pirate Party wins seats in parliament

In the latest Swedish election this June, the Pirate party has won 2 of the 20 available seats in parliament getting more than 7% of the popular vote (Sweden has a proportional representation system). Because minority governments in Europe often make coalition governments with small parties, this might make these 2 seats very important in swinging the development of policy:
According to political analyst Stig-Bjorn Ljunggren if, as expected, the Pirate Party wins seats in the Swedish parliament in elections next year, it could well find itself the kingmaker between the country's two established political blocs.

"You have two blocks in parliament: one green and red, and one blue. And if a third party comes into parliament they could choose which one of these two parties will form a government.

"They (the Pirate Party) will sell the post of prime minister to the party that gives most to them," he said.

And the prime minister has not ruled out doing a deal with the party.

Why this success in Sweden? Well apart from the benefits of a proportional representation system as opposed to a "first past the post" system like in North America, there is also differences in culture (according to the BBC):
And then there is Sweden's liberal culture, part of which is the principle of Allemansratten.

"Allemansratten means everyone's right. It's an important part of Swedish culture and identity," Katrine Kielos, a columnist on Sweden's best-selling daily tabloid Aftonbladet, explained to me.

"It means that the law of trespass is very weak in Sweden, so you have the right to access somebody's property in a way that is not possible in other countries."
There is also a new Pirate party that has just been registered in the UK, and a small US party (Good luck with that one!) The German Pirate party recently won 1% of the popular vote in the last election, and one member of parliament from the ruling Social Democrat party has switched allegiance to the German pirate party, giving them a seat.

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