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Swedish Pirate Ellen Söderberg is EU's youngest candidate

Lydia Parafianowicz · 29 May 2009, 14:11

Published: 29 May 2009 14:11 GMT+02:00

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“It makes me feel great that I’m the youngest person running,” Söderberg says. “I think it’s important that young people are active in debate and care about politics.”

She says she spends her days at high school, evenings doing homework, and weekends socializing with family and friends – just like any other “normal” high school kid. Though lately she’s been particularly busy on account of campaigning with the Pirate Party.

“I hope I can be a different voice that people can listen to and understand,” she says. “I hope to get a more open EU Parliament, to speak about integrity, surveillance and piracy. Knowledge is a right as a human. I want knowledge and culture to be free.”

The primary pursuit of the party is to restructure copyright laws, eliminate patent laws and support the right to be anonymous.

"I think it’s important that everyone gets their integrity,” she says. “Everyone should have equal rights no matter where you’re born.”

Söderberg says if elected, her biggest challenge will be facing the competition: up to 785 other politicians, who are predominately middle-aged men.

“I think I’m a strong girl, and I am something different and new,” she says. “I’m not a 50-year-old male like the average European politician. I think young people need a voice in the EU parliament that they don’t have now, and it’s important everyone is represented in the democracy.”

Currently, Söderberg is finishing her first year at gymnasium, and says she hopes that after graduation she’ll be living in Brussels as a MEP. If not, she says she’s contemplating attending university in Lund or Uppsala to study social sciences and culture.

“Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to sit in parliament – even though I’m sort of still a child,” she says with a laugh. But she adds that her experiences working at summer jobs, her research of EU studies, and activate participation in debates make her as valid a candidate as any other. Even though the attention she’s received has made her a celebrity at school, she’s trying to keep a low profile.

"Yesterday some kids at the library got in trouble for being loud, but the librarian said, ‘Not you Ellen, you’re a grown up,’” Söderberg recalls. “I felt so ashamed and weird! People think I’m more mature, some think I’m crazy, some think I’m the coolest girl in school.”

Story continues below…

Meanwhile, she says she has reached her current point with the support of her family.

“Yesterday, my mom was laughing because the BBC wanted to interview me and she couldn’t believe it,” Söderberg says. “But my 15-year-old brother, he never thinks I’m cool. Though he has been promoting me online. Even though he won’t say it to my face, I think secretly he thinks I am.”

Lydia Parafianowicz (lydia.parafianowicz@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:27 May 29, 2009 by DAVID T
Sounds like a stupid immature idiot to me - no doubt she'll get votes from like minded people.
16:38 May 29, 2009 by karex
Immature, even inexperienced, yes. Stupid? Not so sure, though the lack of experience may account for poor choice in party allegiance. However, I think it is a good sign that young people want to be more active in politics.

The problem I have with the Pirate party is that they have no agenda really, apart from destroying some established norms. More substance is needed if they are to gain some level of attention from me.
06:41 May 30, 2009 by Otaku

We need much, much more young People into the Parliaments.

Maybe the have a better chance not became fat, corrupted and stupid Politicians as the current self sufficient Generation.

Just sad that, as always, it will need 20 more Years before People from "Inlanded" will understand this and a lot of other things....
10:14 May 30, 2009 by Kjella
Just FYI, she's 13th on the Pirate Party list and Sweden is electing 18 MEPs, so unless 2/3rds votes PP or she's actively cumulated into a top spot she won't get in. However, if the most favorable polls go in then Amelia Andersdotter (21), ranked 2nd on the Pirate Party list will become the youngest MEP in history.
15:11 May 30, 2009 by eZee.se
> though the lack of experience may account for poor choice in party allegiance.

Poor choice in party allegience.... yes, why not keep voting for the same idiots who keep throwing your rights away? the same (corrupt and dumb) establishment?

"He who trades freedom for security deserves neither" - B.F

> The problem I have with the Pirate party is that they have no agenda really...

16:06 May 30, 2009 by ShaneW
I am pleased to see this lady stand.

Most people her age are more into 'pop idol' or whatever mind numbing reality show is the flavour of the month.

I would never vote Piratpartiet but commend them for having such a young candidate.
19:14 May 30, 2009 by KnowledgeIsPower
It's wonderful to have someone so young interested in important political and philosophical ideas. It demonstrates that youth are concerned with the future and want to play an active role in its construction. I hope that she inspires many more youths to work hard and strive onward.
19:45 May 30, 2009 by Wayne
It would be interesting if someone tried to make the parliament reflect the society we live in demographically. Then who in Sweden wants 10-15% of their parliament to be immigrants.

Whatever her allegiance, she has what she believes is a cause and verses rioting in the streets, she is running for office. I wish her all the best.
11:26 May 31, 2009 by tewodros
Bravo Ellen Söderberg !
20:44 May 31, 2009 by Nemesis
In a democracy, all citizens have the right to stand for election, regardless of colour, creed, sex, age, sexual oreintation, disability, or any other reason bigots can throw up, to object to a human beings rights to represent people who elect them.

It is her democratic right to stand for election, as it is the democratic rights of cotizens to choose whom ever they wish to vote for.

In an undemocratic state she would not be allowed to run for office.

Win or lose, her running for office actually helps to strengthen democracy.
22:14 May 31, 2009 by insect
Swedish Pirate? ha ha.
08:17 June 2, 2009 by Holecutter > The Howl From Hell
I hate to say this, and I guess she really is a nice person. But to be quite frank, she looks like in the photo of her as the "village idiot" Which does say much for the rest of them in the EU thingy either.
11:12 June 2, 2009 by HALE
Swedish Pirate...sounds like a Viking to me

Amazing what 1000 years of evolution can do!

Does she have long blonde hair in braides and yell war cries and raid other EU countries, washed down with a few ales?
12:59 June 2, 2009 by SaltWater
This is Real Democracy! Period!
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