Overview over the PP NDS convention
After the successes the German pirates had in the state elections in Berlin, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhine-Westfalia, it has become a bit quieter, resulting in them dropping back to 6% in recent election polls. A lot hinges therefore on the Pirate Party of Lower Saxony, which will ring in the 2013 election year on January 20th. Later in 2013 we will have elections in Bavaria and for the German Bundestag, the national parliament. A success in Lower Saxony (last polls: 7%) would help tremendously to make 2013 an overall success.
On the weekend of 25th and 26th of August this year the Lower Saxony Pirates met in the town of Delmenhorst (near Bremen) to finalize the order of their candidates for the 2013 Lower Saxony Parliament elections and to start working on their election program. This was a big deviation from the original plan, where the candidates were supposed to be elected in Nienburg on April 21 and 22, and the following conventions in Wolfenbüttel (July 21 and 22), Delmenhorst (August 25 and 26) and Celle (probably October 27 and 28) were supposed to be used for broad discussions on the election programme. This would have mirrored the slogan Themen statt Köpfe (Topics instead of faces/heads). So the question is: What went wrong?
A number of members announced that they would fight against the Nienburg results in court, and it turned out that two EU-citizens living in Lower Saxony voted on the candidates as well. While German law is pretty lenient on parties developing their program, and, subsequently, the German Pirate Party allows non-Germans with residency (you can’t become a member of a German political party without either German citizenship or residency in Germany) to vote on the programme as well as to occupy internal positions, for example on the boards. However, parties have to abide to stricter rules when putting forward candidates for an actual election. German law states clearly that you need to have the right to vote on election day (ie be 18 or older and hold German citizenship for state and federal parliament elections) in order to vote for candidates, and it seems that this was overlooked by the accreditation team in Nienburg and two non-German members of Piratenpartei Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony Pirate Party).
As a result, in Wolfenbüttel, the first day of the weekend-long convention was used to discuss the voting system, resulting in the pirates first selecting 30 candidates to be on the list and then voting on their order afterwards. At midday on Sunday however it turned out that two party members had been accredited that would not have reached the age of 18 by January 20. In the hours left, it was only possible to vote for the 30 candidates, but it was no longer possible to also vote on their order due to the time restraints.
The result reached in Delmenhorst is not vastly different from the one reached in Nienburg (also the numbers of votes reached by the candidates in Wolfenbüttel is very similar). This supports what Meinhard Ramaswamy, who topped the list both in Nienburg and Wolfenbüttel said: “This is not the result of the Lower Saxon pirates only fighting with each other, but the result of 20 pirates making life hard for the rest of the Lower Saxony Pirates.”
Pirate Times will publish an article giving tips on how to avoid unnecessary commotion like this in the future later this week. This is to make sure that not only the Lower Saxony Pirates can learn from their mistakes, but that this knowledge can be shared with all Pirates out there.
About Justus Römeth
I am a pirate from Hanover, Germany, interested in international networking. I think that Pirate Times is one important step to be able to better spread information on the Pirate Parties around internationally, and I hope I can contribute to that as an author and by trying to connect people interested in these topics. I will also manage the Facebook account together with Andrew. As far as my background is concerned, I have lived in Athol, MA, for half a year during high school, did my BA at the universities of Amsterdam and Prague, and am finishing my MA degree in Euroculture at the universities of Cracow and Göttingen. I am also active with the Young Pirates of Hanover, Pirates without Borders, and the Europa Pirate Thinktank Hanover. I have been a member of Pirate Party Germany since 2009.