The Pirate Party has based its political agenda mainly on Internet freedom and political transparency. It promotes what it calls “liquid feedback,” which involves members making suggestions online. They are discussed in chat rooms before entering the party’s internal policy-making process.

Despite, or perhaps because of this unconventional approach, the Pirate Party surprised the country’s long-established parties by gaining a reputable 7.8 percent of the vote on Sunday. Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party – the Christian Democrats – had to cope with a huge defeat in Northrhein-Westphalia.

But who are the Pirates? A mostly young motley crew of hip intellectuals and bandana-wearing cyber-politicians, they have openly admitted that they are still “learning by doing” after every new election success.