ⓘ Pirate Party Germany


ⓘ Pirate Party Germany

The Pirate Party Germany, commonly known as Pirates, is a political party in Germany founded in September 2006 at c-base. It states general agreement with the Swedish Piratpartiet as a party of the information society; it is part of the international movement of pirate parties and a member of the Pirate Parties International. In 2011-12, the party succeeded in attaining a high enough vote share to enter four state parliaments and the European Parliament. However, their popularity rapidly declined and by 2017 they had no representation in any of the German state parliaments. Their one European MEP, Patrick Breyer, has joined the Greens/EFA group. Together with Marcel Kolaja, Marketa Gregorova and Mikulas Peksa from the Czech Pirate Party they build up the European Pirate Party team for the European Parliament in Brussels.

According to political theorist Oskar Niedermayer, the party sees itself as part of an international movement to shape with their term of "digital revolution" which is a circumscription for the transition into information society. With their focus on freedom in the net and their fight against government regulations of this sphere, they caught the attention especially of the younger generation. Even if the network policy is the core identity of the party, it is now more than just an advocacy party of "digital natives" and characterises itself as a social-liberal-progressive.

Former federal chairman Sebastian Nerz sees the party as social-liberal party of fundamental rights which among other things wants to advocate for political transparency.


1. Party platform

The party supports the preservation of current civil rights in telephony and on the Internet; in particular, it opposes the European data retention policies.

The party favors the civil right to information privacy and reforms of copyright, education, genetic patents and drug policy.

In particular, it promotes an enhanced transparency of government by implementing open source governance and providing for APIs to allow for electronic inspection and monitoring of government operations by the citizen.

The Pirate Party also supports an unconditional basic income for citizens and direct democracy via e-democracy.


2. History

The party was founded on 10 September 2006. Thorsten Wirth has been the Party Leader since 30 November 2013. Previous leaders were Bernd Schlomer, Sebastian Nerz, Dirk Hillbrecht, Christof Leng, and Jens Seipenbusch.

In February 2009, the village spokesperson of Hohenstein and as such city councillor in Strausberg Jens Knoblich joined the Pirate Party Germany. In June 2009, Bundestag member Jorg Tauss left the SPD and joined the Pirate Party after the Zugangserschwerungsgesetz was passed, but left the Pirate Party in 2010 when he was convicted for possession of child pornography. In late August 2009, Herbert Rusche, one of the founding members of the German Green Party and, in the 1980s, the first openly homosexual member of parliament in Germany, joined the Pirate Party. During the 2011 Berlin state election, the party entered a state parliament for the first time when the Berlin party chapter received 8.9 percent of the votes for the state parliament of Berlin. As of August 2012, the party had around 35.000 members.


3. Election results

2009 European Parliament election

It received 229.117 votes in the 2009 European Parliament election, which was 0.9%, but not enough at least 5% for a seat.

2019 European Parliament election

In the 2019 European Parliament election, the Pirate Party retained their MEP seat, with their lead candidate Patrick Breyer being elected.


3.1. Election results 2009 federal election

On 27 September 2009, the Pirates received 2.0% 845.904 votes in the 2009 German federal election, thus not securing any seats in the Bundestag. However, this was still the best result among parties that did not meet the 5% threshold. Among first-time male voters, the party received 13%.

On account of the election results in 2009, the party fulfils the conditions for receiving public allowances. For 2009, it received €31.504.68 the same amount as it received from private contributions which was exclusively due to the Pirates state associations Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. The calculation was made based on the total receipts of the party in 2008. The possible upper limit of the public allowance matching for the party is a rate of €840.554.51.


3.2. Election results 2009 European Parliament election

It received 229.117 votes in the 2009 European Parliament election, which was 0.9%, but not enough at least 5% for a seat.


3.3. Election results 2013 federal election

After those successful state elections, the party was able to score up to 13% in nationwide polls. However, after a lengthy array of scandals and internal disputes which were handled unprofessionally and picked up by the media, the party lost the trust of voters and entered a steady decline in polls.

As a result, in the Lower Saxony state election in January 2013, the Pirate Party was only able to gain about 2.1% of the votes, missing the 5% threshold needed to gain actual seats in the state parliament. Six months later during the Bavaria state election of 2013 the Pirates fared similarly, receiving again only 2% of the votes. At the 2013 German federal elections the following weekend, the party suffered another major defeat where it was again only able to achieve 2.2% of the votes, leading to the resignation of party leader Bernd Schlomer.


3.4. Election results 2014 European Parliament election

In the 2014 European parliament elections, the Pirate Party received 1.45% of the national vote 424.510 votes in total and returned a single Member of the European Parliament. The elected MEP, Julia Reda, joined the Greens–European Free Alliance as an independent.


3.5. Election results 2016 Berlin state election

The Berlin state election on September witnessed the collapse of support for the Pirate Party in their previous stronghold of Berlin. Their previous vote of 8.9% achieved in 2011 fell to 1.7% and the Pirate Party lost all representation in the Berlin State assembly. The poor result was compounded by the murder suicide of former Pirate Party assembly member Gerwald Claus-Brunner.


3.6. Election results 2017 dropout from state parliaments

Together with the satirical party Die PARTEI the Pirate Party nominated Engelbert Sonneborn as candidate for the German presidential election in February 2017.

The Pirate Party continued to decline in 2017, dropping out from state parliaments. In the Saarland state election in March 2017, the Pirate Party received only 0.7% of the voter share and therefore lost all its seats in the Landtag of the Saarland. With the North Rhine-Westphalia state election in which it lost every seat, the Pirate Party is no longer represented in any state parliament.


3.7. Election results 2019 European Parliament election

In the 2019 European Parliament election, the Pirate Party retained their MEP seat, with their lead candidate Patrick Breyer being elected.