German Pirate Party legally acquires 15 Parliamentary seats

Living up to its namesake, the Piratenpartei Deutschland has plundered 15 seats in the Berlin Parliament after earning around nine percent of the total vote tally – a first for the group, reports German news site Der Spiegel.

Sebastian Nerz, the party’s chairman, heralded the shocking news as “a very special success” for the group. The grassroots campaign included “1,000 pirates, 12,000 posters, countless interviews, and only €35,000 in election expenses.” Another key factor was the sheer dedication of volunteers, said Nerz. Turning out the youth vote was the tipping point.

German Pirate Party legally acquires 15 Parliamentary seats

Nerz touted the group’s unconventional approach and unique outlook as its strength. “[The victory] gives credibility and provides the chance to prove that pirates are not only idealists but also able to actually make a difference and change the policy in Germany permanently,” said Nerz.

Speaking to Deutsche Welle, the leader addressed a few aspects of Piratenpartei Deutschland‘s platform – including free public transportation, a greater degree of governmental transparency and arguably the group’s favorite subject, copyright reform. However, Nerz insisted basic rights would be a focus for the group.

“Over the past few years, there has been new security legislation, tightened surveillance and cutbacks of basic rights; some of the laws were passed without real discussion or debate,” said Nerz. “The question is, are existing laws being applied in a reasonable manner.”

When asked if loosening copyright laws would circumvent the very basic rights he wants to fight for, Nerz asserted that his group wasn’t exactly anti-copyright. “We don’t want to do away with copyright; we just want to make sure it is reformed,” he said. “Neither the artists nor consumers are being treated fairly.”

Nerz seems intent to conduct a layman’s approach to politics – more open door than closed fist. And despite his party’s humble yet questionable beginnings, he believes the group will resist the opacity that comes standard with any public office.

“We are going to demonstrate that it is possible to conduct a transparent approach to politics,” Nerz told piracy news site Torrent Freak. “Traditionally politics are a secret ‘no trespassing’ area. Meetings are held behind closed doors, agendas and protocols are closed, treaties are not being published. We will demonstrate that it is possible to openly and truthfully inform the citizens what is going on, what alternatives are possible and why a certain path has been chosen.”

Nerz and his Piratenpartei Deutschland will have the chance to live up to those lofty promises soon. (via TechDirt)