Croatian Pirates at the Gates of European Parliament
Are we going to be celebrating the entry of an additional Pirate MEP in the European Parliament? The answer lies in the hands of the Croatian citizens and we will find out on 14 April 2013 when their first, historic EU election will be held in that country. Polls in Croatia have shown that “Piratska Stranka” (PPHR) is attracting 6.4% of the voters (surpassing the limit of 5%), more than enough to elect an MEP!
Officially registered to PPI (Pirate Parties International) last April and with 150 members today doing their best, PPHR also needs help from fellow European pirates. “At the moment we are short on every possible resource: including funds, materials and people. If you could do some fundraising for us, it would help lot. Also, if you could organize some people willing to come to Croatia, we can provide free accommodation for a few couch surfers. Bringing your materials, flags, t-shirts and so on. We think this would have a great impact on our voters” they told Pirate Times.
In their international information page they write, “for a price of a coffee in a large European city (6 – 10€) you can help us put up 20 posters, pay for 3 seconds of radio coverage in prime time or 1 second of prime time on the national TV channel”. For details regarding donations please contact Ivan Ozvatic at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “DONATION”. Describing their manifesto to Pirate Times Croatian Pirates pointed: “We are using the ‘Pirate Codex‘ from Pirates Without Borders and our positions come from the German Pirate Parties with some changes and tweaks to support local issues. We have two strong local centres, one is the capital Zagreb and the other is Rijeka on the coast. We would also dispatch some people on the eastern cities like Osijek.”
Elections will be held using a unitary list. Croatia will represent a single constituency and voters can choose any candidate from any party they wish. At the top of PPHR’s list is a woman, Maša Utković, who was recently elected as the president of the board of PPHR. Maša has already travelled to Brussels and met with Swedish MEP Amelia Andersdotter for support and advice during the pre-election race. Fellow candidates, in the upcoming elections, are Ivan Voras, Miroslav Ambruš-Kiš, Goran Kauzlarić, Ivan Ožvatić, Sonja Papeš, Marko Sučić, Dario Vidović, Marko Doko, Juraj Fleiss, Hrvoje Jegjud and Bojan Kopitar. You can read more about them on their candidate page.
In last year’s European Union membership referendum the voter turn out in Croatia only reached 43,51%. A percentage which indicates that Croatians are not that interested in Europe and there is a prediction that only 1 in 4 voters will show up to the EU Parliamentary polls. In the elections Croatia has 28 parties and 336 candidates that will compete for the 12 seats.
The elections in Croatia are a big and crucial test for the pirate movement in Europe. They are a forerunner of the battle of next year’s EU elections and will give an indication of the intentions of European citizens. It is well known that voting in EU elections is loose and voters find the opportunity to “punish” major parties for their policies. If PPHR succees and wins a seat in the European Parliament, this will help lift a ground swell for pirate parties in Europe and worldwide.
Two Belgian Pirates are in Croatia helping the Croatian Pirate Party. You can find the daily coverage of Koen & Paul in their blog.
Featured image: by PPHR CC BY-SA
About Stathis Leivaditis
The English “pirate” is derived from the Greek word “πειρατής” (peiratēs) and this in turn from the verb “πειράομαι” (peiráomai), “I attempt”, which is a derivative of the noun “πείρα” (peîra), “experience”. Coming from the depths of the centuries, the word “pirate” took on another dimension in our days. The ruling classes saw pirates as rebels and hated them. Rebels without a state, they were not submissive to any law, except from the laws they instituted themselves, improvising together. This is the feeling of a Pirate: when something doesn’t work, you have to attempt to bring a new concept. Sometimes it goes beyond a certain point and perhaps exceeds certain limits, because it is an expression of challenge; the challenge to change the system. I’m a member of the Board (and former chairman) of Pirate Party of Greece, also a member of press team of PPGR, former journalist, now a free lancer. I'm in the team of Pirate Times from the start, I joined voluntarily and consciously because I am interested to meet pirates from around the world, to exchange views and spread the pirate spirit.