Sweden’s Pirate Party set for election failure

Pirate Party

Christian Engström is, together with Amelia Andersdotter, the current two members of the Pirate Party in the European Parliament (June 2010 by Helge F/Flickr)

The European Parliament elections could become a fiasco for the Swedish Pirate Party, according to a new poll by Sifo.

With 20 days left before the poll, the Pirate Party is set to get only 2.2% of the votes. In Sweden, parties will have to get more than 4% of the votes in order to win a seat in the Parliament elections, but since Sweden will only have 20 seats, more than 5% of the votes is likely to be necessary in order to secure a mandate.

The Swedish Pirate Party was founded in 2006 and its policies mainly focus on opposing intellectual property through reforming copyright and patent laws, as well as opposing Internet censorship and surveillance.

In 2009, the Pirate Party received 7.1% of the votes in the European Parliament elections in Sweden, winning two seats. Sister parties have been founded across Europe in other EU member states. In 2011, the German Pirate Party won 8.9% of the votes in the Berlin state election.

Along with the Pirate Party, the Christian Democrats and the social-liberal Centre Party are also expected to lose their Parliament mandates.

Meanwhile, the winning parties should be the Social Democrats, getting 31.2% of the votes, according to the latest poll, up from 24.4% in 2009, and the Environment Party (Miljöpartiet), getting 16.1% as opposed to 11% five years ago. Both the Pirate Party and the Environment Party are in the Greens group, and the latter is likely to soak up the votes for the Pirate Party.

Voters are expected to punish government parties, apart from the Moderates, a party belonging to the conservative group in the Parliament. Experts also say the Parliament elections could be an indicator of how the Swedes will vote in the upcoming general elections in September.

As opposed to the general trend across Europe, the far-right party, the Swedish Democrats, is doing poorly in the polls and at risk of not winning any seats. The party, which is considering joining the group European Alliance for Freedom founded by the French MEP Marine Le Pen from the National Front and the Dutch leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) Geert Wilders is currently at 4.1% of the votes.

The European elections will be held in all EU countries in May 2014. The Lisbon Treaty states that the European Parliament shall elect the Commission president on the basis of a proposal made by the European Council, taking into account the European elections (Article 17, Paragraph 7 of the TEU). This will apply for the first time in the 2014 elections.

The European Parliament, parties and many others have pushed for European political parties to nominate their front-runners in the election campaigns. This will make the European elections a de facto race for commission president, politicise the campaigns and could increase voter turnout, they say.

But others have argued that the European parties’ push for their own candidates may not be the best solution. Raising expectations could easily lead to disappointment, Herman Van Rompuy has repeatedly said, calling for caution in case the council chooses another candidate than the winning party’s frontrunner.

  • 25 May: European Parliament elections in Sweden.
  • 14 Sept.: General elections in Sweden.

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