Friday 28 October 2011


By Paul Shalala in Berlin, Germany

A new group of 15 young and little known Germans have won parliamentary seats in the Berlin Federal Parliament in an unlikely manner after they campaigned using posters and the social networking websites Facebook and Twitter.

In their first day in parliament, the young parliamentarians wore bandanas, caps, informal clothes while some even carried i-pods to the legislature.

The young MPs who include a lady, are members of the newly formed Pirates Party which only held a few public rallies during the campaign period.

These Pirate MPs are young people who are in their early 20s, 30s and a few are in their early 40s while the youngest among them is 19 years old.

A closer look at the their personal histories reveal that some of them are students, while others are industrial workers and physicians.

The success scored by the 15 little known Pirates Party Members of Parliament has shocked many Germans who had ignored the party which has no formal policies in areas such as education, health, security and had never won elections since its inception a few years ago.

Party spokesperson Ben De Biel says his party hopes to ensure that its newly elected MPs contribute to solving problems the people of Berlin face.

Mr De Biel says a new computer software has since been employed to ensure that  the MPs and voters interact on a daily basis and share strategies of how to approach various issues.

Current opinion polls in Germany predict that the Pirate Party may get its first seats in the Bundestag (German Upper House of Parliament) in 2013 if the current mood among citizens continues to like the silent online campaign tactics of the pirates.

Meanwhile, Tobias Miller, Politics Editor for the Berliner Zeitung, Berlin's largest daily newspaper, says the German media was surprised at the Pirates’ success in the elections.

Mr Miller says the Pirates got a lot of their support from dissatisfied Germans who feel the need for new ideas and a fresh start in politics and they also  got a good number of votes from young people who spend most of their time surfing the internet.
He adds that voters in Berlin elected the 15 young Pirate MPs because they are fed up of old politicians who are not offering them new ideas.

The Pirate MPs where among the 149 MPs of the Berlin Federal Parliament who started their five year term when the house opened for its deliberations on 27 October 2011.

The new parliament was elected on 18 September 2011 and in its sittings, it will be interesting because of the pirates whose agenda is not yet known.