Pirate Party Wins Seats in Berlin Election

Merkel coalition suffers losses

A political party that promotes Internet freedom has won almost 9 percent of the vote in Berlin’s state elections this weekend.

The German arm of Pirate Party wants legal reforms on file sharing, data protection and censorship. It also campaigns for free wireless Internet and free public transport.

The party passed the crucial 5 percent hurdle to get into parliament, the Guardian reports, finishing fifth in the state elections. It is the first time that the party has won any seats in any of Germany’s 16 legislative states since it was founded in 2006.

Andreas Baum, the party's top candidate, is quoted in Deutsche Welle. “This is all very new for us,” he said. "We will need to prepare, get into the swing of things, but you will be hearing from us. You can be sure of that."

The Pirate Party will now hold around 15 seats in the Berlin state parliament.

It is not the first victory for the party internationally; in 2009, the original Swedish party won a seat in the European Parliament after taking 7 percent of the vote.

The main opposition party, the Social Democrats, won the election in the German capital this weekend, pushing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats into second place. The chancellor’s coalition partners, the Free Democrats, fared even worse, failing to hit the 5 percent benchmark to secure a place in parliament.