Published on Spiegel Online International, by kla, April 10, 2012.
Germany’s Pirate Party may still be hammering out their platform, but that doesn’t seem to bother voters. Riding a wave of new popularity following a recent state election success, the Internet freedom advocates have gained record support in a national poll. Germany’s Green Party used to be the model for upstart political parties in the country. But now it appears that the new Internet-freedom Pirate Party is on an even more rapid path to nationwide success. And it has overtaken the Greens in public opinion polls, as well … //
… Internal Strife:
Germany’s other political parties are also watching the new party’s development anxiously. “The Pirates will replace the Greens as a protest party,” General Secretary for the conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union, Alexander Dobrindt, told daily Die Welt.
But even as they achieve national success, the Pirate Party continues to grapple with internal questions about strategy and leadership. Late last week the party’s youth organization, the Young Pirates, made allegations of sexism and racism. In a statement calling for tougher measures against problem members, the group reported that one woman had been described as “too pretty” to be taken seriously, and that a Twitter discussion had declared there was no problem with being “critical of foreigners.” But on Monday the party’s spokesperson rejected the Young Pirates’ demand, explaining in a statement that their open forum would sometimes give rise to unpopular statements.
The Forsa poll also had good news for the embattled Free Democratic Party (FDP), the junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right governing coalition. The pro-business party managed to garner 5 percent of voter support, meaning that after months of abysmal poll results, the party may be on the road to at least partial recovery.
Five percent, however, still wouldn’t be enough to maintain a majority for a coalition with Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), who together with their sister party the CSU had 36 percent of voter support. With a federal election coming up in 2013, Merkel is already shifting her policies to the left to redirect support for the center-left Social Democrats (26 percent) and improve her chances of staying in power for a third term. (full text).