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Pirate Party Goes to Parliament

| 8 Jun 2009 22:14
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The Pirate Party has shocked observers by winning two seats in Sweden's election to the European Parliament.

The Pirate Party took 7.1 percent of the vote in yesterday's election, meaning it will get two of Sweden's 18 available seats. TorrentFreak estimated that 200,000 people voted for the party, a huge increase over the 35,000 votes it received in the 2006 national elections. The party said much of the boost came as a result of the recent conviction of the Pirate Bay founders, after which membership in the party more than tripled.

"We've felt the wind blow in our sails. We've seen the polls prior to the election. But to stand here, today, and see the figures coming up on that screen... What do you want me to say? I'll say anything," said Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge.

"Together, we have today changed the landscape of European politics. No matter how this night ends, we have changed it," he continued. "This feels wonderful. The citizens have understood it's time to make a difference."

The Pirate Party was formed in 2006 with the goal of reforming copyright and patent law in Sweden and has since grown to become the country's third-largest political party in terms of members. Staying true to its agenda, the party wants to use its new role in the European Parliament to "reduce the abuses of power and copyright at the hands of the entertainment industries," and to legalize file sharing for personal use. "It's great fun to be a pirate right now," said Pirate Party Vice Chairman Christian Engstrom.

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