Saturday, 18 November 2017

Reflex: Czech Pirates are world's strongest party of its kind

ČTK |
6 November 2017

Prague, Nov 3 (CTK) - The Czech Pirates, with a 10.8 percent gain in the recent general election, have become the world's strongest party of its kind now that the previous Icelandic leader has dropped under 10 percent, Petr Sokol wrote in Reflex.

Iceland's Pirates gained 14.5 percent in the general election last year, but they ended below 10 percent in the early general election last Saturday, becoming weaker than their Czech counterparts, Sokol writes.

The Czech Pirates became a dark horse in the October election, being the only of the successful parties that was never present in the Chamber of Deputies before. In spite of this, they could not be labelled an "extra-parliamentary entity," because their nominee Libor Michalek has been a member of the Senate, the upper house of parliament, for five years now.

Michalek's election as a senator in Prague's 3rd district, too, was a milestone in the world Pirates' history, because it was the first ever election of a Pirate to a national parliament, Sokol writes.

Previously, the then strongest Swedish Pirates made it to the European Parliament "only," as did their German counterparts, who also entered some of Germany's land parliaments, he writes.

The Czech Pirates, who originally mainly fought for a copyright reform and freedom of information but who are a full-fledged party now, are rather unpredictable as a newcomer in the lower house, where they occupy 22 of the total 200-seats.

They will have to cope with the situation where their election success went beyond their own expectations, with many candidates being elected rather unexpectedly, Sokol writes.

This, however, need not cause internal tension since the diversity of opinion groups and their liberty of action are among the Pirate Party's essential features, Sokol writes.

He cites Pirates chairman Ivan Bartos as speaking of a political and an activist wing in the party, the former being ready to adapt itself to political procedures and the latter preferring to play outside the official establishment.

The party's opinion diversity can be well illustrated by the fact that two members of its narrow leadership, Ondrej Profant and Mikulas Peksa, the latter of whom is the party's foreign policy guarantor, have claimed adherence to Diem 25 (Democracy in Movement) international entity that wants to be an all-Europe far-left party, Sokol writes.

Diem 25's orientation becomes clear with the name of its initiator, Greek Marxist and former finance minister Yanis Varufakis, who was too leftist even for the ultra-left Greek cabinet of Alexis Tsipras, Sokol writes.

Supporters of Diem 25 include the critics of capitalism, Noam Chomski and Slavoj Zizek, by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and musician Jean-Michel Jarre. They want to jointly democratise the EU, give the main power to the EP and let citizens write a new democratic constitution of the EU. This sounds nice, but their goal is in fact the dissolution of national states, Sokol writes.

Diem 25 wants to create the first genuine all-Europe party to run across the EU in the European elections in 2019. In some countries, however, it has only few of its total 60,000 members, which is why it seeks cooperation with a local subject, Sokol writes.

Of late, it has offered Czech Pirates to create a joint list of candidates in the European elections, but the Pirates have adjourned their final decision, he writes, adding that in other countries, Diem 25 seeks cooperation with parties close to the Greens (Denmark) and the alternative left (Poland).

The Czech Pirates are now part of the European Pirate Party whose only MEP comes from Germany and shares the EP group with the Greens and regionalist subjects, although the Czech Pirates vehemently protest against being compared with green parties, Sokol writes.

The orientation of the European Pirate Party is sharply at odds with the recent election results of the Czech Pirates, who fared the best in the regions that were previously strongholds of the right, supported by liberal voters in towns, Sokol writes.

The Pirates even ended first in Prague's 6th district, where the liberal right wing permanently prevailed since 1989. Can the local voters come to terms with a part of the Pirates cooperating with Marxists like Varufakis? This will become clear soon and also in the next elections, Sokol writes.

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