Pirate Party boarding German politics
As disillusionment with the political establishment sets in, support appears to be shifting to a new party that has no official stance on the EU or its troubles, as RT found out in Berlin.
It looks like an ordinary scene at one of the many bars in Berlin. But there is one thing which makes this party totally different from the rest. This is a convention of a political party – the Pirate Party of Germany. The guests at this gathering are all drawn from the party’s 18,000 members. Dmitry, who is tired of the mainstream, is one of them.
“I was really disappointed. It's always the same way – you have the faces and almost no content and the Pirate Party is really different,” he told RT.
One of its key differences, apart from the style in general, is a software system called LiquidFeedback, allowing ordinary Germans the opportunity to propose policies online.
The Pirates stand for more transparency and freedom on the Internet, but when it comes to core issues, like the economy… “No, we don't have a stance on this crisis,” says member George Jaening. “Maybe we will after the next federal convention.”
However, the lack of a coherent economic policy seemed not to be a problem at the last election to the Berlin state parliament, when the Pirate Party managed to win nearly nine per cent of the votes, securing 15 seats.
“Many people do not know where to put us, what we really are,” the party’s political leader, Marina Weisband, explains. “But many people say: ‘You're something new and we like that’, because many Germans believe that politics are rusty at this time.”
As the big players struggle with the key economic and political issues, the Pirate Party does not even have an official stance on the eurozone crisis or on the Arab Spring. Nevertheless, it continues gathering supporters – a mere coincidence or an alarming signal for mainstream politicians?
The Free Democrats Party, which is Angela Merkel's federal coalition partner, was the first to feel the voters’ change of heart, losing that Berlin vote along with another five local votes across the country.
“Mainstream politics are losing attractiveness, because there's often too little distinction between different parties from different fields or areas,” Dr. Leonhard Dobusch, a researcher at the Free University of Berlin, explains. “Sometimes it's difficult to see the difference between conservatives and social democrats.”
Experts say the Pirate Party's key success tool is the Internet. They see it as the new driving force, changing politics much in the manner that TV did over half a century ago.
Observers of Germany’s disillusioned electorate believe that unless the mainstream parties adapt and change their tactics, it may not be too long before they become the ones sitting on the margins.