Pirate Party losing wind as membership drops

Sweden's Pirate Party membership has taken a sharp downward turn, but new party leader Anna Troberg is not concerned.

Pirate Party losing wind as membership drops
A Pirate Party rally in Linköping in May 2009

Since the 2009 European parliamentary elections, when the party’s popularity was at its peak, Sweden’s Pirate Party has lost about two-thirds of it members, Sveriges Radio (SR) reports.

From a high of around 50,000 members, the Pirate Party now only has 16,000 members.

“It is naturally very sad. But while having membership is good, it’s the activities that are most important. We have more activists now than before, so we have more active members than before,” Troberg told SR.

Troberg took the helm of the Pirate Party in January after the party’s leader and founding father, Rick Falkvinge, resigned from his post.

“When I founded the Pirate Party I said that you should not keep doing this longer than five years and now we have reached the five-year limit. I must keep my own promises,” Falkvinge told the TT news agency at the time.

While Falkvinge remains active in the party, the task of taking the Pirate Party forward now rests squarely with Troberg.

The Pirate Party exploded in membership after the internationally followed Pirate Bay trial resulted in prison time and heavy fines for the four men behind the popular file sharing site.

In the two weeks surrounding the hearing, the Pirate Party more than tripled accumulating more than 35,000 registered members.

“But we have known all along that we would not retain all the members. We are not an organization that could take care of so many members who came so fast,” Troberg told SR.

The Pirate Bay trial put the internet and copyright issues in focus during the June 2009 European parliamentary elections.

The Pirate Party, with 7.1 percent of the vote, earned one of Sweden’s 18 seats in the European Parliament.

During last year’s general elections in Sweden, however, the party, which seeks to legalize internet file-sharing and protect people’s privacy on the internet, gained only 0.65 percent of the vote.

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