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Home* News and Stories → Lon­gye­ar­by­en local coun­cil to thin out in 2023

Lon­gye­ar­by­en local coun­cil to thin out in 2023

Ear­lier this year, the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment final­ly took the con­tro­ver­si­al decis­i­on to dis­pos­sess Longyearbyen’s inha­bi­tants who don’t have Nor­we­gi­an pass­ports off the local voting rights, except a very few who have spent at least three years as regis­tered inha­bi­tants of a main­land com­mu­ni­ty. click here for more details of the histo­ry of the who­le thing.

By now, some of the con­se­quen­ces of this dra­stic decis­i­on are beco­ming more clear, alt­hough the first local elec­tions under the new legis­la­ti­on will not be befo­re the fall of 2023. Then, about 700 for­mer voters will not be able to take part in the elec­tions, accor­ding to NRK. This con­cerns both voters and can­di­da­tes, such as Oli­via Eric­son from Swe­den, who will not be able to line up again in 2023.

Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

Lon­gye­ar­by­en Lokals­ty­re: about to thin out in 2023.

Lon­gye­ar­by­en has some­thing near 2500 inha­bi­tants. This is the total num­ber, inclu­ding many who are not yet of full age any­way or who have not yet lived in Lon­gye­ar­by­en for three years, which has always been a requi­re­ment to vote. The actu­al num­ber of voters is accor­din­gly lower. 700 voters who lose their voting rights accor­din­gly repre­sent some­thing near one third. Future local coun­cils will thus lose a lot of demo­cra­tic legi­ti­ma­ti­on. It is also feared that many will feel as second class citi­zens and hence redu­ce their com­mit­ment to local mat­ters.

Ano­ther con­se­quence is that smal­ler par­ties may not be able to line up any­mo­re for elec­tions in the future. Par­ties must have at least seven can­di­da­tes to take part in elec­tions, and smal­ler par­ties have always strug­g­led to meet this requi­re­ment in a small place such as Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The local Green par­ty MDG (Mil­jø­par­tiet De Grøn­ne) has now announ­ced to not line up any­mo­re for the 2023 elec­tions. In 2019, three of their can­di­da­tes were for­eig­ners, inclu­ding Oli­via Eric­son from Swe­den. Eric­son and other peo­p­le are sho­cked and frus­tra­ted to be depri­ved of their demo­cra­tic rights. The­re may be more par­ties who will drop out for the same reason, for exam­p­le Frems­kritts­par­tiet (FrP).

Seve­ral cur­rent mem­bers of the local coun­cil, inclu­ding cur­rent mayor (lokals­ty­re­le­der) Arild Olsen, have announ­ced that they will quit in 2023 becau­se of the new legal situa­ti­on, accor­ding to NRK.



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last modification: 2022-12-17 · copyright: Rolf Stange