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Pirates 'are anarchists'

Josef Bucher, the head of the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), has harshly attacked the Pirate Party (PPÖ).

The newly established political movements celebrated its first significant success earlier this week when it entered the city hall of Innsbruck, the capital of the western province of Tyrol. The PPÖ, which has a dramatically lower budget than the country’s established parties, now hold one seat in the Innsbruck parliament after bagging 3.8 per cent of votes. It overtook the tradition-rich Communist Party (KPÖ). The KPÖ did not manage to enter the city hall as it won only 1.4 per cent.

The Tyrolean department of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) won the ballot of Innsbruck with 21.9 per cent, up sharply from the 14.6 per cent it garnered in 2006. Für Innsbruck (FI, For Innsbruck), a conservative party, came second with 21 per cent. The Green Party won 19.1 per cent (2006: 18.5 per cent) while the Social Democrats’ (SPÖ) share decreased from 19.7 to 14.5 per cent. Fewer than 53 per cent of the city’s citizens participated in the election.

Speaking about the PPÖ’s chances to succeed in upcoming elections, Sophie Karmasin of Viennese public opinion research agency Karmasin said new parties and election lists "do not even have to be better (than the established parties in elections at the moment). They only must be different." She said the Pirates now had to determine a key election campaign topic. She compared the PPÖ’s current situation to the circumstances the Austrian Greens found themselves in following their establishment in the 1980s.

Many representatives of Austria’s established parties, opinion leaders, and political analysts acknowledged the PPÖ’s potential. Asked for his opinion, Bucher branded the PPÖ as "anarchists". The former FPÖ parliament member (MP) told Die Presse: "We have a different structure of voters."

Bucher also said that the plan was not to form a partnership with entrepreneur Frank Stronach, 79, regarding a reform of the BZÖ or the subsidisation of its general election 2013 activities. But the BZÖ chief underlined that he and Stronach realised they had the same points of views concerning some issues. He told Die Presse that the founder of automotive industry Magna International wanted to meet with him to debate economic and political issues. Stronach recently caused a stir by announcing plans to financially support new political groups. "We need an intellectual revolution to change things for the better in time," the Austrian-Canadian businessman said.

Asked to disclose his party’s future focus, Bucher told Die Presse that there must be lower bureaucratic burdens to hold referendums. Several political competitors such as Freedom Party (FPÖ) chief Heinz-Christian Strache and People’s Party (ÖVP) Integration Secretary Sebastian Kurz gave similar statements in the past weeks in what is widely considered as an early kickoff to the parties’ campaigns ahead of next year’s nationwide ballot.

Bucher – whose party ranges around only three to four per cent in public opinion polls – also called for a bureaucratic and political reform of the country "to end the politics of blockade of the provinces". He suggested to get rid of the nine provincial parliaments. Bucher said the provinces’ governors and a small number of councillors should represent their home regions’ interests after such a reform.

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