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Kim Dotcom to launch next mega venture: A political party

By Grigory Kravtsov, for CNN
updated 1:39 AM EST, Thu January 16, 2014
Kim Dotcom is starting a new political party in New Zealand.
Kim Dotcom is starting a new political party in New Zealand.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom launches a political party in New Zealand
  • His party needs at least 5% of the vote or a constituency win to get into parliament
  • There is no clear front-runner for the vote, expected to take place at the end of the year
  • He is also launching an album at his birthday bash on January 20

(CNN) -- Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has announced he is launching a new political party in his adopted home of New Zealand.

"My new political party won't be named Mega Party. We are the Internet Party," he tweeted Wednesday.

The aim of the Internet Party is to make politics exciting again, he said through Twitter.

The larger-than-life entrepreneur is a German native and can't personally run for office as he is not a citizen of New Zealand. However he alluded to his desire to focus his party's policies around internet privacy and government surveillance.

Dotcom founded file-sharing website Megaupload in 2005, which allowed users to upload music, videos and files. It was accused of being an online haven for digital pirates. The U.S. government shut down the site in 2012 in a piracy crackdown.

Megaupload founder's lavish lifestyle

Dotcom had assets frozen and was arrested in the crackdown that included a police raid on his luxurious house near the capital, Auckland and was remanded to Mt. Eden prison. A judge overturned the verdict just over a month later. Since then, he has faced numerous legal battles.

In New Zealand, Dotcom has worked on various projects -- with politics being the latest.

Antihero appeal?

Bryce Edwards, a political commentator and lecturer at the University of Otago in New Zealand, believes that Dotcom has become an unlikely beloved figure in the country.

"We haven't seen a maverick like Kim Dotcom throw his weight into politics, this is someone wanted for crimes allegedly committed and has an extreme personality, and strangely New Zealanders have really warmed to it," Edwards said.

New Zealand's general elections are expected to take place before the end of this year. According to numerous political analysts, there is no clear front-runner, making it difficult to predict the outcome.

"In the past, Dotcom has infamously donated money to a politician called John Banks who is quite far on the right of the political spectrum, so there are assumptions that Dotcom is politically at the right but it's pretty uncertain," said Edwards.

He also cautioned that Dotcom's Internet Party must win at least 5%in order to make any impact on the political scene.

Gaining anything less would make people "feel like they are wasting their vote."

In order for a party to be sworn into parliament in a country with over 3 million eligible voters, it must obtain this crucial 5% threshold or win a constituency.

In a further comment on Twitter, Dotcom appeared confident that the Internet Party would make it mark at the election.

"Get ready for low blows and smear against me and my political party. My attackers are worried. They should be. We will get more than 5%," he stated on the microblogging site.

Other than technological advocacy, it's unclear what the party's exact policies are.

Edwards believes the Internet Party is set to focus on some key voting groups including the youth, tech-savvy people and those that have become disillusioned with the current system such as those from a lower socio-economic background and ethnic minorities.

A man of many talents

It's not only politics that Dotcom has dabbled in lately. He was planning to launch his debut album titled "Good Times" at a huge birthday bash for himself on January 20.

However, he had to cancel the event because of a potential breach of electoral laws as it was being held for free. Over 20,000 people had registered on Twitter to attend.

Dotcom says he increasingly turned to music to escape his legal woes of the past few years.

"When you have a family with five kids, and you're facing an indictment with potentially 80 years in prison, you're not in a good state of mind. But that's why the music really helped me. When I was in the studio, everything else just turned off," he said in an interview with The Guardian this week.

Megaupload has since been succeeded by an almost identical venture under a new, shortened name -- Mega.

Dotcom has said that he will release more details of his new political party on January 20.

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