Pirate Party 'could enter German parliament': poll

28th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Pirate Party, a group of young tech-savvy politicians, that is fast becoming a rising force in Germany, would win enough votes to enter the national parliament, a new poll suggested Wednesday.

The poll, by the Forsa institute, showed seven percent of Germans would vote for the party, who stormed into Berlin's regional parliament this month with nine percent of the vote in what the Bild daily called an "election sensation."

Parties in Germany need five percent of the vote to be represented in parliament. The next national election in Germany is scheduled to take place in two years.

Heading the other way in terms of support in the poll were Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats, who hit a new low of two percent, which would exclude them from parliament.

The Pirate Party, set up five years ago and composed mainly of people in their 20s and 30s, have vowed to bring more transparency to government in Berlin, including sending tweets out of committees and streaming their own meetings on the web.

The head of the Forsa institute, Manfred Guellner, said he had never seen a party enjoy such rapid success and drew parallels with the ecologist Green movement which has grown to become a major force in German politics.

"Even the Greens needed four years to get into the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) after their first entry into the European Parliament in 1979," he said.

The poll showed the Pirate Party was winning votes from traditional supporters across the political spectrum but was appealing most to those who had in the past abstained in elections.

Eleven percent of those saying they would vote for the Pirate Party were former Green party voters, 16 percent voted for Merkel's conservatives, 13 percent for the FDP and 10 percent for the opposition Social Democrats (SDP).

However, 30 percent of the new Pirate voters said they did not vote in the last election in 2009 or had not yet been old enough.

The survey, of 1,001 people between September 22 and 23, showed that Merkel's current coalition would comfortably lose out to a centre-left combination of SDP and Greens.

Her conservatives were polling 31 percent, the SDP 29 percent, the Greens 19 percent and the far-left Linke party seven percent, around two years before Europe's top economy goes to the ballot box.

© 2011 AFP

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