Interview with Jerry Weyer, member of the PPLU
Following the collapse of the government of the tiny European country of Luxembourg, due to a spying scandal, early elections were called and took place on 20 October 2013. The Pirate Party of Luxembourg was hoping to get 2% of the vote, in their first ever election and were overjoyed to see their share of the vote reaching the 2.94% over all and 3.37% in the north of the country.
They are now the best of the small parties and the media talks about a surprise win. And yes, the PPLU gained the most after the liberals, the highest scored was 6,7% in one district. They staged the most effective campaign, with around 0,26€ per vote and the lowest budget from all in total of 25.000€. Measured on the results, they were the second biggest winner in the elections. Another 0,5% and they would have won a seat.
We spoke with Jerry Weyer, candidate and election campaign manager of the Pirate Party Luxembourg:
I heard reports that PPLU will be getting 100.000 Euro per year for this result. Is this true? And how big was your election budget?
Our goal was to get 2% in each of the 4 districts (North, South, Centre, East). We did even better than this with 2,94% (second best Pirate result ever in national elections). This result guarantees us in principle an annual support of 3 times our annual expenses in the election year, up to 100.000€. As we spend 25.000€ in the election campaign alone, we should get close to 100.000€ a year of public funding.
The question remains when we will get this money as the law wasn’t prepared for snap elections – we are currently checking our options on how to proceed. In any case we need to get 2% in the EU elections in May, but seeing our results from Sunday, I’m sure we are on the right track.
Tell our readers something about the impressions you had of the elections. Especially the funding part of the campaign and about the overall climate of politics in Luxembourg.
For nearly all of our activists it was the first election campaign of their life. We were all very excited, but also overwhelmed by the work you have to put into managing a big campaign. The great results encourage us for the upcoming EU-elections and now we know what works and what doesn’t in a campaign.
Pirate Party Luxembourg based its campaign entirely on donations. We had a goal of 25.000€ and raised 22.500€ in total (https://donate.piraten.lu/ ) With 0,26E/vote we had the most effective campaign of all parties, and still managed a very high visibility for a small party. I’d like to say thank you to all donors, who came from all over Europe – you made this possible!
Luxembourg is in a very special situation now: for the first time in 15 years it seems Jean-Claude Juncker will not be Prime Minister anymore. This is a relief for us, as the Christian-Socialists haven’t been preparing Luxembourg for the challenges ahead – we hope a new progressive coalition can modernize the country.
What do you think about the fact, that “voters represent less than 60 percent of the population aged 18 or over” as stated in this article?
It’s unacceptable! One of our demands in our election campaign was the right to vote for foreigners and people under 16. Currently about half of the population of Luxembourg is not allowed to vote – creating an enormous democratic deficit. We don’t accept this and campaigned for an increased democratic process and voting rights for non-luxembourgish residents.
What are the next plans for the Pirates in Luxembourg? Are you already planning the election campaign for the EU Elections in 2014?
First point on the agenda (after celebrating) is to analyse the results: what worked in the campaign, what didn’t work. The next step will be to elect a new board and get the preparations for the EU-election started. We are already discussing how to implement our experience into the next campaign. In the long run we will prepare communal elections in 2016 where we need to improve our local representation. But honestly today we are still just happy about our results.
Thanks a lot for your answers and enjoy the party 🙂
Featured image CC BY-SA PPLU