• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Labour Party looks to slash Oslo immigrant dominance

NTB/The Local · 16 Dec 2011, 17:22

Published: 16 Dec 2011 17:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Dec 2011 17:22 GMT+01:00

Among those backing legislative change is Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who sits on the board of a local Labour committee that wants parties to be able to present voters with a list of 15 hand-picked candidates.

In accordance with current rules, the party populated its list with ten names in this autumn’s city elections

This left voters with plenty of scope to select their own preferred candidates, enabling seven politicians with immigrant backgrounds to sail into winning positions after managing to secure enough personal votes for a seat.

“We’ve now got three representatives from Somalia and Somaliland. That’s in excess of what one might expect,” party veteran Rune Gerhardsen told newspaper VG.

Gerhardsen stressed that his desire for a rule change did not stem from any sense of dissatisfaction with the current councillors, but he did argue there was a need for greater balance.

“Comparatively small pressure groups can make relatively large gains when they apply enough resources. Ethnic groups have shown themselves to be good at mobilizing,” he said.

Abid Raja from the Liberal Party (Venstre) said he found the comments alarming.

“What he says about his own party colleagues with Somali backgrounds is way beneath his dignity,” Raja told news agency NTB.

“Instead of increasing the number of set candidates we should be going in the opposite direction and getting rid of it altogether.”

Raja pointed out that ethnic Norwegian candidates had also harvested their fair share of personal votes, with Rune Gerhardsen himself the main beneficiary. Of the Labour Party’s candidates, Gerhardsen and Libe Rieber-Mohn attracted the highest number of personal votes, followed by Abdullah Alsabeehg.

The 25-year-old Alsabeehg, whose family came to Norway as political refugees from Bahrain when he was very young, denied his election success had stemmed from a recruitment campaign targeting voters of the same ethnic background as himself.

Instead, he attributed his large personal vote haul to the backing he received from the Labour Party’s youth wing (AUF).

“I was the AUF’s youth candidate in the election and was supported by young people of various ethnic backgrounds from around the city,” he told NTB.

“I think it’s wrong to make a distinction between minority politicians and other politicians. Nobody uses the term minority footballer to describe Moa or Carew,” he added.

Story continues below…

Among representatives of Norway’s other main parties, there was no support for the idea of lengthening pre-populated electoral lists.

“I can see that the Labour Party’s City Council group in Oslo is skewed, both from an ethnic and geographical perspective, but that just shows that party democracy is more or less dead within the Labour Party beyond the group of active immigrants,” said Conservative Party (Høyre) MP Per-Kristian Foss to politisk.no.

“That’s a problem for Oslo’s Labour Party; I don’t think parliament should change the election law,” he added.

Anders Anundsen from the Progress Party said Labour would be better advised to move in the exact opposite direction, a view supported by the Centre Party’s Per Olaf Lundteigen.

“Trust in politicians and political parties is dropping. That means voters should be given more of a say as to who gets elected in parliamentary, county, and municipal elections,” he told politisk.no.

NTB/The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Norway youth 'improves' 5,000-year-old skier carving
The carving of the skier at Tro can never be seen again in its original form, archeologists believe. Photo: Nordland County

The 5,000 year-old carving is among the earliest evidence of stone age man's use of skis.

Norway man in hospital after Pokémon brawl
A Pokémon monster lurking in Oslo's Vigeland sculpture park. Photo: Audun Braastad/NTB

Another victim falls to the Pokémon peril.

Statoil blows $2.5bn on Brazil oil field stake
Statoil's Peregrino A platform offshore Brazil. Photo: Øyvind Hagen/Statoil

Norwegian oil giant has made a big ticket acquisition despite cost cuts, staff reductions, and a recent unexpected loss.

Norwegian activity centre refuses refugee visit
Anti-Discrimination Ombud Hanne Bjurstrøm believes the centre leader may have broken the law by refusing service based on ethnicity or national origin. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix

Owners of the Nissegården camping and activity centre in Lom municipality said no when local refugee services asked to book a visit for a group of refugees.

Norwegian tourism shrugs off Europe attacks
Photo: Torstein Bøe/NTB Scanpix

The tourism industry in major cities across Europe has been affected by the string of attacks across the continent in recent months, yet the tourist industry in Oslo and Norway in general appears to be heading for another record year.

Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
Reindeer collisions are a frequent occurence on Norway's roads, but rarely on this scale. Photo: Alcino/Flickr

A Norwegian man crashed into a herd of reindeer Tuesday night, killing at least 19.

Norwegian renters’ association: Regulate AirBnB
Poster in Berlin aimed at deterring tourists from using AirBnB. Photo: Gunnhild Hokholt Bjerve / NTB Scanpix

The association is concerned that the popular holiday rental site may be driving up rental prices in Norway's biggest cities.

Researcher: Norwegian politicians should stay out of US election
Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix

Norwegian politicians have no business getting involved in the US presidential election, says Hilmar Mjelde from the University of Bergen.

Norwegian minister: Immigration reforms inadequate
Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug. Photo: Lise Åserud/NTB Scanpix

Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug of the anti-immigration Progress Party warned that further immigration and asylum restrictions may be on the way.

Tourist presumed dead after Norwegian waterfall drop
Photo: Ned Alley/NTB Scanpix

An American tourist is feared dead after falling from a height of at least 20 metres into a waterfall late Sunday afternoon.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
National
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Education
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
2,081
jobs available