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Viewing cable 09STOCKHOLM355, AARGH! SWEDISH PIRATES SET SAIL FOR BRUSSELS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09STOCKHOLM355 2009-06-10 13:01 2010-12-15 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Stockholm
VZCZCXRO5422
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSM #0355/01 1611342
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101342Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4411
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
Wednesday, 10 June 2009, 13:42
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STOCKHOLM 000355 
SIPDIS 
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USTR FOR DAVID WEINER 
EO 12958 N/A 
TAGS PGOV, PINR, PREL, ECON, KIPR, SW 
SUBJECT:  AARGH! SWEDISH PIRATES SET SAIL FOR BRUSSELS 
1. Summary and Comment: Sweden’s two largest political parties, the ruling Moderates and opposition Social Democrats, saw little change over their 2004 levels of support in the June 7 European Parliament (EP) election here. Instead, the Greens and the pro-EU Liberal Party were the big winners -- along with the new Pirate Party, which found support from young voters unhappy with the government’s decision to shut down The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing bit torrent site that had become a target of the Motion Picture Association of America (and USTR). The anti-EU Left Party, on the other hand, suffered catastrophic losses. Overall, voter turnout was up in the month before Sweden takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, but at 43.8% still far below the regular 80% turnout for national elections. Comment: The EP election outcome has little predictive power for next year’s parliamentary elections, given the self-selecting nature of those willing to go out and vote for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Perhaps the main lesson for the larger parties relates to the need to court the youth vote in more effective ways. End Summary and Comment.
The Results
----------- 
2. Sweden’s EP election was a bit disappointing for the two largest parties, the Moderates (18.8% of the vote and 4 MEP seats) and the Social Democrats (24.6% and five seats). Although both parties matched the figures received in 2004, they did not manage any gains despite active campaigning. Rather, the Greens (10.9% and two seats) and the Liberal Party (13.6% and three seats) were the big winners. The Left Party suffered disastrous defeats; the party dropped to 5.6%, compared to 12.8% in 2004, and now has one seat. The Centre Party (5.5% and one seat) and the Christian Democrats (4.7% and one seat), both part of the four-party ruling coalition, performed slightly worse than in 2004, though both surpassed the 4% threshold necessary to qualify for a seat. The elections attracted more voters than in 2004, with turnout up 6.7% to 43.8%, differentiating Sweden from other Member States’ downward trend.
Victory for the Pirate Party
---------------------------- 
3. The big winner was the Pirate Party -- which campaigned on reformation of copyright and patent law and opposition to a wiretapping law proposed by the Swedish security services. The Pirates secured a whopping 7.1% and one seat in Parliament. The party, founded in January 2006, attracted young voters angry over the guilty verdict in the Pirate Bay trial, the unpopular EU Ipred directive, and new national laws criminalizing file sharing and authorizing monitoring of emails. The party has not yet announced what EP party group it would like to belong to, and the current thinking espoused by Pirates is that the classic political right-left scale is outdated. Rather, the Pirates see themselves as an historic movement analogous to working-class and the green movements. The party is now looking to negotiate with both the liberal ALDE group and the Greens/EFA group.
4. A side effect of the Pirates’ success is that it most likely reduced the chances for the far-right nationalist Sweden Democrats to gain representation in the EP. The Pirates have some of the same voter base -- young men with mistrust for politicians. Although the Sweden Democrats tripled their results to 3.3%, up from 1.1% in 2004, they remain below the threshold for representation in either the EP or Swedish Parliament. In any case, the Pirate’s landslide among younger voters caught the attention of the larger parties, our contacts tell us, who are now scrambling to come up with policies to woo the youth back to the mainstream.
Personalities Rule
------------------ 
5. Over all, the four party governing center-right Alliance won with 42.6% of vote and nine seats over the leftist opposition with 41.1% and eight seats. For what was essentially a mid-term election in Sweden, the continued strong showing for the ruling coalition suggests to some of our contacts no loss of momentum going into next year’s general elections. Others note that parties with clear and positive EU policies, like the Greens and the Liberals, did surprisingly well, while the euro-skeptics suffered. But those who could be bothered to vote in EP elections on the first sunny day in several weeks were likely a self-selecting group with pro-EU views, not necessarily representative of the wider Swedish public.
6. Results of the preference vote - where voters can mark the candidate they would prefer to be elected - came out June 10. Strong and charismatic personalities have overtaken the top candidates proposed by each of the parties. To be elected on a total number of preference votes, a candidate must have received at least 5% of the votes cast for the party. Alf Svensson, former leader of the Christian Democrats, and Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, the wife of Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, were nominated low on their respective parties’ lists but will now claim seats in parliament.
STOCKHOLM 00000355 002 OF 002
HILTON