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Sailing Along New Cleavages: Understanding the Electoral Success of the Swedish Pirate Party in the European Parliament Election 20091

  • Marie Demker


In the Swedish European Parliamentary Election in 2009 the Swedish Pirate Party took two seats in the parliament and 7.1 per cent of the Swedish voters’ support. The party was absolutely new and the usual concept of populist parties does not seem to fit the Pirate movement very well. It is anti-authoritarian and aims to enhance civic liberties for youngsters, to give open access to culture through the internet and to improve personal integrity and human dignity on the World Wide Web. Transnationalism is one foundation for the party but another is a value foundation of universal human rights and individual freedom, disregarding national borders. This article is an investigation of the Pirate Party as a possible new party family, driven by new sociopolitical cleavages in the modern information society.



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Marie Demker is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. Contact email:


A Swedish version of this paper was published in Oscarsson and Holmberg (2011).



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Government and Opposition
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