...not yet for the Germans. How do Pirate parties in Europe solve their issues online?

This is the second part of the article you could have read yesterday, named "Online voting? German Pirates want it, but..." and actually I've also written a very similar article for the Czech readers in my blog, where I described more thoroughly the late development of the German Pirate Party and their issues within a wider context.

But let's get back to the general assembly of the German Pirates - the atmosphere was quite amazing - especially when you see democratic processes take place in front of your eyes. And you also feel like in a documentary with all those cameras around. But that doesn't seem so much interesting for the traditional media - more than a thousand people engaged in a long discussion and getting to a democratic compromise. They were explaining their concerns about possible flaws of the system of the online voting.

In the end they didn't agreed upon one system and the discussions will continue, namely it might be accepted at the next Bundesparteitag - but a huge part of the work has been done.

It wasn't so easy, because German Pirates use a 2/3 majority voting system - they require a wide agreement. And the one proposal that was just closest to be accepted missed only 23 votes. Probably because in the last day some tired Pirates have already left. Even such things can influence the party shaping process.

See the very nice and easy to understand brochure for the voting systems! And of course the Pirate Times covered this as well and in English. For sources in German, you can see all the proposals and results on their wiki. And there's also a retrospective article by the board.

But let's have a look on the other Pirate parties, which already have been using online voting systems! We can start with the Icelandic Pirate party, which has gained 3 seats in the national parliament recently. They build on a system, where the proposals must first get support of a reasonable part of the members and then the proposals are voted online for one week. This allows the party to be very dynamic and to react fast on current issues, even though it's one of the youngest Pirate parties - or maybe because of it.

In the Czech Republic, where I come from, we have a similar mechanism implemented, but even handing in the proposals happens online. Such a proposal has to gather support of the square root of the amount of all the members (don't tell me the Pirates are not geeks). Afterwards the issue is discussed thoroughly and when the discussion seems more or less finished (sometime it can be a week, sometimes months!), the process is finished by 48hour-long online voting. This system unfortunately requires the members to be under constant stress, because they never know, when something important might change or be discussed. But hopefully we will shift it towards a more regular process on our next general assembly in September.

On the other hand in the Swedish Pirate party (as I understood it, pls comment, if I got it wrong), which happened to be the first Pirate party ever, we can see more regularity. Perhaps thanks to its longer age. The proposals have to come through a standardized process, where each phase has a fixed length specified in the number of weeks (publishing the proposal, discussions, counter proposals, voting etc.) - and although this process is not as much dynamic as other parties might have (it takes place just 4 times a year) - in my opinion it's much more relaxed and comfortable for the members, so more of them can actually take part and the principle of direct democracy is stronger there.

To summarize, I would like stress that we might see the Pirate parties also as an experimental incubator of direct democracy. Because even though there's a strong principal of international cooperation among us, we are neither guided nor lead by any single authority, which would determine exactly, how we should work - so we actually try different methods in parallel.

I am really impatiently waiting for the next Bundesparteitag to see, what system the German pirates will adopt. But whatever the result will be, I'm sure it will be a next step on the long way towards a modern form of direct democracy, which will create a stable and fair political environment as it does already eg. in Switzerland.

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Hi Amelia. Nice blogpost on an important topic. However, an error has sneaked into your post:

> In the end they didn’t agreed upon one system
> and the discussions will continue.

Well, we do agreed upon an online voting system :-)

That decission came very late on the Bundesparteitag. The press has already gone, so it didn't made it into the newspapers.

Discussion how exactly to implement it will for sure continue because installing online voting in political parties is *very* difficult in germany due to our antiquated laws.

But nonetheless, it is there in two decissions that passed the required 2/3 of votes:

https://wiki.piratenpartei.de/Antrag:Bundesparteitag_2013.1/Antragsporta... is


(Google translate will probably help to translate the german text).

The general assembly of the German Pirates did vote for a new voting system, but the press and many pirates did not realize it. I was there too. The problem of communcation is, that it was not called "SMV" like the other models. It allows frequently online-voting, indirect deligation and - in case of secret voting - decentral offline voting in the old way with boxes.The "Basisentscheid" (SAÄ003) got more than 2/3 of the votes and will be started programming as fast as possible :-)

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