Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pirates’ Strong Showing in Berlin Elections

The question that members of Germany’s political establishment are now asking after the insurgent party stormed the statehouse is this: Are the Pirates merely the punch line to a joke, a focus of protest, a reflection of electoral disgust with all established political parties — or an exciting experiment in a new form of online democracy?

They are absolutely not a joke party,” said Christoph Bieber, a professor of political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen. While there was certainly an element of protest in the unexpectedly large share of the votes the Pirates won, they were filling a real need for voters outside the political mainstream who felt unrepresented. “In the Internet, they have really found an underexploited theme that the other political parties are not dealing with,” Mr. Bieber said.

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