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Science

Swedish Pirate Party founder steps down

The party's head, Rick Falkvinge, says that he will resign, and now act as an ambassador-at-large for the party. After five years, the party, while still small, has had an outsized effect on European tech politics.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick Falkvinge, left, founded the party in 2006

In a surprise move on Saturday, the founder and head of the Swedish Pirate Party, Rick Falkvinge, has resigned his post.

He said that his primary reason for stepping down was to avoid "stagnation."

"After five years, I am no longer full of new ideas," he wrote on his website. "Rather, I have transformed into somebody who keeps doing the same things over and over again. If I'm stagnating, so is the party. Therefore, it's time for me to move on. This is the most important point."

He also announced that after having founded the party five years ago, he will now become a roving European Pirate Party promotor of sorts, traveling around the continent.

"I will be moving on to focus on primarily Europe but also the rest of the world; up until today, we have been turning down keynote invitations left and right simply because we haven't had the capacity," Falkvinge wrote.

Anna Troberg

Anna Troberg, right, the new party leader, met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Stockholm in August 2010.

"My job will be to accept and deliver on those invitations, explain information policy, and build networks. It's classic evangelism, and that's also what my business card will say. Political Evangelist."

The Swedish Pirate Party, according to its website, stands for reform of copyright law, abolishing the patent system, and the right to privacy.

Founder names deputy as replacement

As his replacement, Falkvinge named his vice president, Anna Troberg. According to her website, the 36-year-old is an author, translator and politician.

"Anna has a cultural background which is precisely what the Pirate Party in Sweden needs at this point," Falkvinge said in an interview with the website TorrentFreak.

"We are well established within the box of technical people, but need to break out of it. To do that, we need a leader who can explain why these issues are important in non-technical terms. Anna is the perfect fit."

In recent months, the party has expanded its ranks, albeit slower than in the past. The party failed to win seats in the Swedish parliamentary elections in September 2010.

Pirate Party logo

Despite having no representation in the Swedish parliament, the Swedish Pirate Party currently has two seats in the European Parliament

Previously, the party has allied itself even more strongly with WikiLeaks - announcing in August 2010 that it would extend hosting services to the site founded by Julian Assange.

In July 2010, the Swedish Pirate Party also announced the creation of an anonymous "Pirate ISP," as a way to provide untraceable Internet connections for Swedes.

Pirate Party has expanded across Europe in previous five years

Since Falkvinge's tenure, the Swedish Pirate Party has inspired similar parties across Europe and around the world.

In 2009, it famously got seven percent of the vote in European elections, earning itself two seats in the European Parliament.

There are now Pirate Parties in forty countries worldwide, and the party has city council members in Germany, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.

According to Troberg's website, the party's board should formally confirm her as the new leader at a meeting in Stockholm on Monday evening.

Author: Cyrus Farivar
Editor: Tamsin Walker

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