STOCKHOLM (AFP) — A Swedish party that wants to legalise Internet filesharing and beef up web privacy scored a big victory Sunday by winning a European parliament seat, results showed.
The Pirate Party won 7.1 percent of votes, taking one of Sweden's 18 seats in the European parliament, with ballots in 5,659 constituencies out of 5,664 counted.
"Privacy issues and civil liberties are important to people and they demonstrated that clearly when they voted today," one of the party's candidates, Anna Troberg, told Swedish television on Sunday.
The party was founded in January 2006 and quickly attracted members angered by controversial laws adopted in Sweden that criminalised filesharing and authorised monitoring of emails.
Its membership shot up after a Stockholm court on April 17 sentenced four Swedes to a year in jail for running one of the world's biggest filesharing sites, The Pirate Bay.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's conservative Moderates won 18.8 percent of votes and four seats, close to its score in the European election in 2004 but down sharply from the 26.1 percent it won in Sweden's 2006 general election.
Coming little more than a year ahead of Sweden's next general election in September 2010, political analyst Mats Knutson called the result a "formidable cold shower" for Reinfeldt, speaking on public television SVT.
The opposition Social Democrats, traditionally Sweden's biggest party, won 24.6 percent, also close to their result in 2004 and maintaining their five seats in the EU parliament.
The Greens scored a strong rise in support, and were credited with 10.8 percent of votes compared to 6.0 percent in 2004 and doubled their seats to two.
The formerly communist Left party saw its support drop from 12.8 percent in 2004 to 5.6 percent and one seat, a drop of one.
The far-right Sweden Democrats, which are not represented in Sweden's parliament, meanwhile tripled their score but not enough to win a seat in parliament.
Their support rose from 1.1 percent in 2004 -- and 2.9 percent in the 2006 general election -- to 3.3 percent.
Voter turnout in Sweden was 43.7 percent, higher than the 37.1 percent in the 2004 election, election officials said.
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