How Slovenian Pirates Gathered 1000 Signatures for EU election

How Slovenian Pirates Gathered 1000 Signatures for EU election

In Slovenia, every candidate list wanting to participate in the EU election has to gather 1,000 signatures of support from voters. The main problem is that there is no possibility to sign and verify a form electronically. Therefore all parties have to collect signatures on the street, and all voters have to verify their signature at administrative offices. That is why all signature collectors stand in front of the local administrative offices.

For the Pirate Party of Slovenia (PPSI), this is the first time participating in the election and thus also the first time collecting signatures. The main activity was concentrated in the capital, Ljubljana. The PPSI candidate for MEP, Rolando Benjamin Vaz Ferreira, pointed out that it is hard to imagine all the political intrigue one can experience doing something as mundane as collecting state-mandated signatures:

“It’s even harder to imagine the wide array of reactions when people hear the words ‘Pirate Party’. However, once you’ve heard a 70+ year-old grandma tell you to go **** yourself, you’ve heard it all.”

Despite the reaction he received from that grandma PPSI’s president is certain that Benjamin is the best candidate for PP-SI. “He’s fresh, funny, has a lot of charm and knows how to convince people with direct and honest approach. I already see him at the EU parliament hacking the political process there.”

 

The president of PPSI, Rok Deželak, said that “what has to be done, is never hard”. Many thought that collecting 1,000 signatures is a quite impossible job, but they also found that it was an interesting task. The Pirate volunteers where forced to go out on the street, make contact with voters and convince them that this was a party there for them.

One of the activists, Aleš Cerar, also pointed to the differences between administrative offices in different towns. His favourite place for collecting signatures was Ljubljana’s district Šiška, where he lives. People at the local administrative office were very efficient and people could verify their signature in approximately 2 minutes. It was a whole different story in Kranj (Gorenjska region), where one day the officer that needed to verify signatures simply left his post. Aleš said that there was one man who had to walk from one officer to another and wait in queues for 45 minutes before the above mentioned officer returned to her workplace.
Many of the Slovenian Pirates have day jobs and families, which means that some were not able to participate in collecting every day and sometimes only for a few hours. Jure Trbič, Pirate from northwest region of Gorenjska, said that he has just got a new job and the business hours of administration offices (usually from 8-15) didn’t allow him to collect signatures – he had to resort to face-to-face pleading with everyone he knows.
Collecting 1,000 signatures took Slovenia a great amount of energy, but in the end they succeeded. They managed to gather more than 1,200 signatures in the end and the latest poll result put PPSI at 4.7% for the EU elections. As a member from Ljubljana, Igor Brlek, pointed out: “If you believe in something, then nothing is hard to do!”
Photo: Rolando Benjamin Vaz Ferreira, CC BY-SA-NC
Matic Urbanija

About Matic Urbanija

International Coordinator, Pirate Party of Slovenia/Contributor, Pirate Times/blog: maticurbanija.wordpress.com

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