Snap elections that are taking place in Greece on Sunday, 25 January 2015, find the Pirate Party out of the election battle. The initiative of the Greek Pirates to form a political “Trojan Horse” had not come to fruition. After a marathon of negotiating efforts with other parties that lasted for months, the expectations for the formation of a grand coalition proved unsuccessful.
We contacted Thanasis Gounaris, Chairman of the Board of the Pirate Party of Greece to explain how we reached at this point.
Pirate Times: What is the reason why PP-GR will not run for the elections?
Thanasis Gounaris: “There is not just one reason but many. As you know the Pirate Party of Greece had started a negotiating effort to create a grand coalition of parties that stay permanently outside Parliament because of the election threshold of 3% .The initiative to form a political “Trojan Horse” finally failed and this is a key reason why we are not running in the elections. Moreover, by focusing all of our resources in the effort to create the “Trojan Horse” we lack the attention of the possibility of our running autonomously in the elections. Unfortunately our financial situation does not allow us to ensure our participation in elections and one thing that I truly regret is the disappointment to our voters that exceed 50,000 people. Personally I feel that our influence is bigger than 1%. In the end, it was our fault that we, for tactical reasons, allowed the non-disclosure of the whole project from our side. The Pirate Party insisted on a press conference with representatives of all parties and we proposed the idea to visit the President of the State to deliver a protest resolution on the exclusion of small parties from representation in parliament due to 3% hurdle and a call for the immediate introduction of proportional representation in elections. The representatives of other parties insisted the talks remain secret to maintain the unanimity with which the coalition was working, we didn’t veto. There are discussions about the possibility of our participation in the second round of elections, which is very likely to happen, but we still have not done anything except for planning on paper. We will wait for the results of the elections on Sunday and accordingly we will make our moves. We have received some suggestions and we are now working on various scenarios.”
Pirate Times:Why did the attempt to create the “Trojan Horse” fail?
Thanasis Gounaris: “From the beginning we knew the risks undertaken by starting discussions with parties from the traditional political landscape “left-center-right” that have their differences. So we suggested to agree in 2-3 principles that have to do with the electoral threshold. But it was not accepted and so we began a marathon of negotiations on joint positions, we had a “manifesto” but it was just before the announcement of elections and in the meantime we had lost valuable time. We remind you that the parties that participated in the initial phase of the “Trojan horse” represented 17% of the votes of the electorate, a very high percentage. We had (26?) meetings and at the end we were only 3-4 (?) Parties without any will to continue. There were many undermining quarrels and disagreements staged by the central authority, aimed at eliminating the “Trojan horse”, as eventually happened. But we won the recognition by all parties and movements involved, in the way we communicate, work and cooperate. All the parties congratulated the Greeks Pirates for the organization and found the “Trojan Horse” project “genius”.”
Pirate Times:What would you recommend to PP-GR voters to do in this election?
Thanasis Gounaris: “I can only tell you what PP-GR has already declared in a press release. Vote according to your conscience and take part in the voting!”
Part of the press release of PP-GR in which it explained the reasons of non running for the elections (you can find the whole press release in Greek here) :
“…After seven months, although the Pirate Party of Greece began procedures and discussions with other democratic parties to form an electoral coalition, it did not succeed. We informed our fellow citizens that the Pirate Party of Greece will not participate in these elections mainly for economic reasons. From our side and driven by our principles for more democracy we tried to form a single electoral cooperation with the sole purpose of entering the Parliament, negotiating with other parties that got less than 3%, in a single, simple, non-ideological, cooperation. The talks began in July 2014 and until the last moment we tried to bring this project to fruition. Unfortunately for everyone, the uncooperative attitude prevented us from being able to achieve this goal in its simplest form. We believe that although it was not possible, all those involved in the process, got experience from it. We believe that the next time a similar effort will happen it will demonstrate the political maturity and responsibility to have more democracy and more parties in the parliament, that prohibited by the undemocratic limit of 3%.
For these elections, as for all, we strongly urge everyone to vote according to their conscience and not abstinence. However, our work does not stop here. We believe that just because of the fragile or even the non-existent relations of the political forces in our country, soon the elctions will be followed by a second round (runoff), in which we intend to be present with our positions and proposals. For this purpose we have started a self-financing process and invite all our members and friends to help and make it possible, the autonomous electoral running of the Greek Pirates…”