As we start a New Year - time for a quick look ahead at the wider political situation for Pirates across Europe.
PiratenPartij - Dutch Elections in March
As I mentioned a few months back the Dutch Pirates are up and running in their campaign to secure their first elected representative(s) to the Dutch Parliament. The election will take place in March, but the campaign for all parties is now in full flow and the most recent Opinion Poll shows the Pirates getting a single seat. This is a positive start for Ancilla van der Leest and the Piratenpartij given the greater media exposure that other parties benefit from. They will really want to secure and build on that level of support as the campaign proper gets underway.
Parti Pirate - French Legislative Elections in June
Following the Presidential Election due to take place in April (currently looking like a run-off between the 'Thatcherite' Fillon and the leader of the Front National Marine Le Pen) there is an election to the French National Assembly. This takes place across the whole of France, but as with the UK - the voting system (single winner in specific geographic seats) makes it very difficult for a new and radical party to make a breakthrough. The French Pirates will be looking to stand in as many contests as possible and get the Pirate message much more widely spread across the country.
Die PiratenPartei - German Elections in October
There are due to be elections to the German Bundestag before the end of October - with Angela Merkel looking to continue as German Chancellor for a record fourth term. Given that Germany is the source of the single Pirate in the European Parliament (Julia Reda) you would hope that they would be able to continue the strong showing from a few years ago - however whilst Germany uses a form of Proportional Representation (Mixed Member MMP) which should be beneficial to the Pirates, they have a 5% thresehold which it would seem unlikely that they will breach in order to get any elected representatives.
Piratska Strana - Czech Elections in October
The Czech Pirates have done remarkably well, and currently even hold the position of Mayor in Mariánské Lázně. With the Czech National Elections also due to take place in October, they will be hoping that they can follow the example of their Icelandic (and hopefully Dutch) colleagues and get Pirates elected to the national legislature (Chamber of Deputies). With Proportional Representation used across 14 Regions, with 200 Deputies being elected across the Country this appears to be a very achievable aim given the current performance of the Czech PIrates, but I confess to not knowing as much about the details of Czech elections as I should do...
There are good reasons to keep an eye on the performance of the Pirates across Europe - as we know from the Icelandic experiance, strong showings in other countries can help support the UK Pirate Party as it brings knowledge of Pirate Politics to new people. There are also opportunities to 'Pirate' each others ideas and bring the best of what works in campaigns to the UK.