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Brussels seat in sight for Pirate Party

Brussels seat in sight for Pirate Party

Published: 30 Apr 2009 08:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Apr 2009 08:12 GMT+02:00

A new poll shows the Pirate Party may soon be representing Sweden in the European Parliament, as it rides a wave of popular support in the wake of the guilty verdict in The Pirate Bay trial.

In the Synovate polling firm’s first survey ahead of the European Parliamentary elections, the upstart Pirate Party received support from 5.1 percent of voters.

If the results hold until Sweden’s June 7th European election day, the Pirate Party’s leading candidate, Christian Engström, would gain a seat in the European legislative body.

Within days following a Stockholm court's decision to jail the four men charged in The Pirate Bay trial, the Pirate Party's membership swelled to 21,000 supporters.

The party's main platform calls for a reform of copyright law, the abolition of patents, in particular pharmaceutical patents, as well as defence of civil liberties and right to privacy.

In the age group 18 to 29, the Pirate Party is Sweden's second-biggest party and fourth-biggest in the 30 to 44 year-old category, stealing most of its support from the Left and Green parties, the poll revealed.

The Pirate Party sees the survey as a milestone and as evidence that the party has established itself as a political force for civil rights, freedom of speech, and the right to privacy.

“There is a growing frustration today among young people against how repressive legislation like the FRA-law and IPRED interfere in their daily lives,” said Engström, the party’s vice chair, in a written statement, referring to a wire tapping law passed late last year, and a recently implemented to make it easier to hunt down those who file share copyrighted material over the internet.

According to Engström “a protected private live and a free internet” are self-evident for today’s young people.

“We are prepared to take the fight for these issues to the halls of Brussels,” he said.

Niklas Källebring, an analyst for Synovate, said many voters associate civil liberties with the European elections.

"The EU plays a very active role in issues concerning 'Big Brother' intrusions in our private lives, both on our cell phones and on the Internet," said Källebring.

The Pirate Party said it registered a sharp rise in membership after a Stockholm court on April 17 found the four founders of illegal file sharing site The Pirate Bay guilty of promoting copyright infringement and sentenced them to a year in jail.

The Synovate poll also showed that the Moderate Party has the highest level of support with 29.7 percent, while the Social Democrats have support of 29.2 percent of those polled.

The rest of the results are as follows: Liberal Party (Folkpartiet): 9.0 percent; Centre Party: 5.4 percent; Christian Democrats: 5.4 percent; Left Party: 5.8 percent; Green Party: 7 percent; Junilistan: 1.3 percent.

The poll results come from interviews with 1,496 people carried out between April 20th and April 27th.

The results are published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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