Austrian General Convention Made Clear Ship For Upcoming Elections
In Austria, the General Convention of Pirates, prepared the Party for the upcoming National Council elections in autumn 2013. It emphasised that both Germany and Austria could be electing their parliaments in the same season and where the success and fate of one Pirate Party could influence the results for the other through time-near publicity.
There is evidence that the ties between the German and Austrian Pirate Parties are not loose. It is not only the shared language – the Austrian party hopes to share a bit of the German succes for the upcoming elections. Their neighbouring country’s party has won every state election since the Pirates entered the City-and-State Parliament of Berlin, the Abgeordnetenhaus in 2011. The Germans are seen as one of the most successful Pirate Parties in the PPI alliance, despite the current weakness. To motivate members to work together and to obtain a share of this success, organisators invited outside help from Pirates experienced in conducting conventions to moderate the General Convention; namely Stefan Thöni (Switzerland), Jan Leutert and Stefan Körner (both from Germany).
The Austrian Pirates have been growing rapidly, over the past months, after celebrating a success in Innsbruck by entering the town hall. This can be seen as a win against highly bureaucratic electoral laws which are restrictive and disempowering for smaller parties and civil movements. Although Austria is not a politicaly hostile environment for Pirates, like Russia is, Austria’s democracy has developed a very special form of political and economic corruption called Postenschacher (trading political offices), which is encouraged by even small unethical actions in and outside the parliament and other institutions and other factors like a lack of transparency. In exchange for the liberalising of electoral rights by introducing vote-by-mail and decreasing the minimal age for voting to 16 and standing for election to 18, the National Council lengthened the current legislators’ terms from four to five years. The National Council’s situation worsened in 2008’s early elections by the rise of right-conservative and right-liberal xenophobic parties, FPÖ and BZÖ.
In this political situation, The Pirates are bringing in a resolution of their own for immediate and absolute transparency, starting with the campaign, to convey their claim that the established politicians to do the same and for the state. They also resoluted for a 5% share of council members’ income for pirate’s purposes. They pursuing Open Access in education and clarified their understanding of privacy by demanding state and companies return to obeying the Austrian law of data privacy from 2002. Great enthusiasm has been shown for Liquid Feedback, the current leading tool for Liquid Democracy, which is being used intensively by the Austrian Pirates. A common opinion, expressed in the General Convention, is to use Liquid Feedback more often for resolutions rather than just for conventions, which is already mirrored in the fact there are more resolutions from the federal Liquid Feedback instance than from the General Convention.
Pirate Party Austria http://piratenpartei.at/ (German)
Featured Image CC-BY Edmund “eduardo” Humenberger