Voting rights in Norway
Immigrants misled about voting
The election information brochure sent by the Immigrant directorate to Norway's
foreigners is riddled with serious errors. Instructions for balloting conflict
with existing laws.
If immigrants follow the guidelines put forth in the brochure they risk having
their ballots invalidated. The Directorate are now hurrying to send out a
new, corrected version.
One example instructed voters to follow outdated procedures from the 1995
election that no longer apply. The ballots depicted in the brochure are also
obsolete, and the new version is considerably different.
Everyone listed in the national register for the past three years is eligible
to vote in the fall elections.
Campaign launched to get immigrants to vote in local elections
According to the Anti-Racist Center, only 35 percent of Norway's immigrants
voted last time round due to uncertainty about the voting system.
The campaign is backed by Britain's Operation Black Vote.
The scheme set up by the Anti-Racist Center is politically independent. The
Center says immigrants know what the various parties stand for, but they
are unsure whether or not they should vote.
People with foreign voting experience may be passive about going to the polls
The Center says also that many politicians hesitate to take up immigrant
No support for immigrant voting from unions and industry
The two bodies representing trade unions and Norway's business sector (LO
and NHO) won't fund a campaign by the Antiracist center to get more immigrants
to vote in the forthcoming local elections.
Conservatives (Høyre) make a play for immigrant vote
The Conservative party (Høyre) held a barbecue party for Oslo's immigrants
on Tuesday in an effort to secure their votes in the forthcoming local elections.
Around 200 guests enjoyed halal slaughtered lamb.
The Parliamentary System and Universal Suffrage
From 1859 and onwards, relations between the Norwegian Parliament and
the Swedish king were dominated by conflict. A disagreement over the status
of the king's Governor General in Norway led to the king being considered
purely Swedish, and his right to nominate the government a threat to Norwegian
autonomy. During the reign of Oscar II, who ruled in Norway from 1872 to
1905, matters came to a climax when the conservative government three times
in a row refused to pass a bill that the Parliament had accepted. After an
impeachment trial, the government was forced to resign. The Parliament thus
established its decisive influence on the government, making Norway the first
Scandinavian country to be governed by parliamentarianism. Suffrage was,
however, limited to men holding a certain amount of property. Universal male
suffrage was introduced in 1898, and in 1913 women were given the vote as
Election day 1882. 5.2 % of the population had the vote, nearly 75%
of them actually used their right, making it the best attended election until
Externally, Norway was still represented by the Swedish king and the
Foreign Minister. During the 1880s however, demands were made for a separate
Norwegian consular service. In 1892, the Parliament tried to carry out this
reform independently, but was forced to back down after threats of military
action. Negotiations were entered into, and though Sweden made concessions
to Norwegian demands, it had become all too clear that the incompatibilities
were too marked to make a compromise possible. In 1905, the Parliament decided
to establish a consular service of its own, but the bill was vetoed by the
king. The government headed by Christian Michelsen, who had sponsored the
bill, then resigned. Under the circumstances, the king was unable to form
a new government, and on that pretext the Parliament declared "the Union
with Sweden dissolved as a result of the King ceasing to function as Norwegian
King". After a short, but tense, period of military mobilisation, negotiations
on the conditions for the dissolution of the union were entered into. A final
agreement was made in Karlstad in September 1905. The same year, a referendum
was held to decide whether Norway should become a republic or elect a new
king. A great majority favored continued monarchy, and shortly thereafter
Prince Karl of Denmark was elected King of Norway. He was crowned in Nidaros
in 1906 as Haakon VII, and soon gained great popularity. For the first time
since 1397, Norway was again a totally free and independent country. [AE]