German Pirate Party Scores Second State Victory

Anti-copyright group wins four seats in German state election in Saarland.

COLOGNE, Germany - Proving its victory in Berlin state elections last year wasn't a fluke, Germany's Pirate Party entered its second state parliament this weekend, winning four seats in the tiny state of Saarland.

The Pirates, whose party platform includes a pledge to reform or abolish online copyright laws, won 7.4 percent of the vote, making them the fourth-largest party in the state, ahead of the Greens.

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Copyright discussions played little role in the Pirate's successful campaign, however. The party instead focused on issues of social and political reform.

The victory follows last year's state election in Berlin, where Pirates won 15 parliamentary seats, taking nearly 9 percent of the vote.

Saarland's election results will silence any pundits who wrote of the Pirates as a short-term phenomenon. Now most are predicting they will secure seats in the two other states set to go to the polls this year: the northern region of Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhein Westphalia, Germany's largest state by population. The regional battles are prepartion for Germany's national elections, which will be held next year.

Since their Berlin victory, the Pirate Party has consistently polled over five percent nationwide -- the minimum required to enter parliament in Germany's proportional representation voting system.