Youth Vote Gave Pirates Breakthrough
Young voters turned out on Sunday to deliver an upset to the established parties, and vote Sweden's Pirate Party to their first EU seat.
'This is an amazing message of support, not from the political establishment, but from the citizens,' says the successful Pirate candidate Christian Engström.
The trial of the founders and backer of the Pirate Bay file sharing site, and the debate over illegal file sharing, has been a hot topic in Sweden this year and now Christian Engström is set to continue it at the EU level.
'We are writing history and we are securing civil liberties in Sweden, Europe and the world,' says Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge, as reported on the BBC.
While they had 7.1% of the overall vote the Pirate Party was the choice for close to one in five voters under 30. Political scientist Sören Holmberg says that the Pirate Party are now the biggest youth party in Sweden, beating both the Social Democrats and the conservative Moderates. But according to a survey by Swedish Television three quarters of the party's voters were men.
The Pirates campaigned mainly on the issue of criminalisation of file sharers and also on the related issue of internet surveillance and personal privacy. It is not yet clear which group in the EU parliament their candidate will sit with - but the left or green blocs are the most likely choice. (lc)