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Swedish Pirate Party suffers embarrassing general election flop

No salty bums on Riksdag seats

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The Swedish Pirate Party failed to secure a parliamentary seat in Sweden's general election yesterday, after it pulled in less than 1.4 per cent of the vote.

Swedish electocrats have yet to confirm exactly how many votes the Pirate Party garnered on Sunday as they are still counting, but an exit poll suggested the outfit picked up a dismal 0.7 per cent on election night.

The party was lumped together with “other” political parties, which between them grabbed a total of 1.4 per cent of the vote.

And – like its UK counterpart that failed to be elected to Parliament in May this year – the Swedish arm of the Pirate Party saw its votes sink yesterday.

It needed at least four per cent of the votes to grab a seat in the Riksdag.

The party admitted that Sweden's 2010 election night, which saw a lurch to the far-right and ended in a hung parliament, had been a huge flop.

“I hope everyone had a nice Valvaka yesterday. But as we know, the election result was not what we expected,” said (in Swedish) the Pirate Party’s Rick Falkvinge.

“Spontaneously, and almost entirely from within, it seems most unfair… We did a much better general election campaign this year than in both 2006 and 2009.”

Despite failing to gain a seat in the election Falkvinge said the party should be proud of its efforts. He said it had “underestimated” the “tough competition”.

He acknowledged that perhaps people had moved on from the debate, after the party undoubtedly benefited from publicity surrounding The Pirate Bay trial in April last year. Since then it has lost tons of supporters and stepped outside of its comfort zone too often.

“We have known for a while that we have not committed beyond our core supporters in the same way as we did in 2009, and therefore there has been a strategy of risk-maximisation in recent months,” he admitted.

“In order to increase their [would-be voters’] attention, you are forced to take risks by deviating from the equilibrium position.”

Falkvinge said that befriending TPB and, more recently, Wikileaks were two such examples of what was now clearly a botched strategy.

He also echoed TPB mouthpiece Peter Sunde’s gripes that the timing of the Swedish election, coming before the BitTorrent website’s appeal, among other things, “was really pessimal this time, just as it was optimal at the European elections".

The Swedish Pirate Party now plans to regroup, channel some, er, inspiration from Battlestar Galactica and Terminator 2 and set up an independent, self-funded think tank to refine the “pirate ideology”.

In May the Swedish Pirate Party became the unlikely provider of TPB's BitTorrent technology.

Just last month Wikileaks made an inevitable coupling with Sweden's Pirate Party in a deal that promised to keep leaked information flowing via the site.

The whistleblowers' clearing house was expecting to use the Pirate Party to host a number of its servers at an undisclosed location, somewhere in Sweden.

Wikileaks man Julian Assange said in August that he hoped "the new Parliament will give serious consideration to further strengthening Sweden’s press protection legislation".

But there was of course the small matter of the Pirate Party winning a seat or two in parliament first. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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