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(title continued) ...To Hold On To Voters

The founding of the Pirate Party in Sweden in 2006 was regarded by many as a joke. After all, the argument went, who would want to be associated with "pirates" or vote for such a narrow platform? This overlooked the fact that the traditional political parties had consistently ignored the concerns of voters who understood that the Internet raised important questions about areas such as copyright and privacy. By focusing on precisely those issues, the Pirate Party gave disaffected voters the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the old political parties and their outdated policies.

This they have done not just in Sweden, where two Members of the European Parliament were elected in 2009, but increasingly in Germany. In Berlin, the Pirate Party recently obtained nearly 9% of the vote in the latest Berlin state parliamentary elections, a level of support that is being mirrored across Germany if you believe the latest opinion polls.

Among those most threatened by the rise of the Pirates are the German Greens, a party which has traditionally appealed to precisely the voters that the Pirates are drawing their support from. The risk for the Greens is that the Pirates could take over as the main "alternative" option in German elections, turning the former into an anachronistic throwback to pre-digital times.

To head off this threat, the German Green party has drawn up a 16-page proposal entitled "Openness, freedom, participation

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