Sweden's Pirate Party sets sail for Brussels

The party wants to reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure citizens' rights to privacy

The Pirate Party, a party campaigning for online civil rights, has won at least one seat in the European Parliament, after obtaining 7.1 percent of the votes in elections in Sweden.

The younger vote was key to the success: The younger vote was key to the success; it won the support of 24 percent of voters below the age 21, according to exit polls conducted for Swedish Television.

The result sends a clear signal to political leaders and party strategists, and today starts the race to really understand these questions in Europe, according to party leader Rick Falkvinge. The older generation has dismantled the younger generation's way of life, Falkvinge said in an interview with Swedish daily paper Aftonbladet.

The Pirate Party wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected, according to its web site.

"Not only do we think these are worthwhile goals, we also believe they are realistically achievable on a European basis. The sentiments that led to the formation of the Pirate Party in Sweden are present throughout Europe," it goes on to say.

Some key issues for the Pirate Party in the parliament will be European Union telecom laws and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which is a new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated between the E.U., Japan, the U.S. and others.

The Pirate Party could end up getting a second seat in the European Parliament if a project to reform the E.U. institutions goes ahead. The Treaty of Lisbon, already ratified by 23 of the E.U.'s 27 members, will increase the number of Swedish seats in the parliament from 18 to 20, and the Pirate Party stands to gain one of them.

Also, The Pirate Party now hopes to take advantage of this victory and also get into the Swedish Parliament, for which elections will be held next year.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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