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Home* News and Stories → Citi­zens wit­hout voting rights: press release of the “unwan­ted for­eig­ners”

Citi­zens wit­hout voting rights: press release of the “unwan­ted for­eig­ners”

Zur heu­ti­gen Kom­mu­nal­wahl in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, bei der etwa ein Drit­tel der frü­her Stimm­be­rech­tig­ten ihr Stimm­recht auf­grund der Natio­na­li­tät ver­lo­ren hat, gab die Grup­pe “unwan­ted for­eig­ners” fol­gen­de Pres­se­mel­dung her­aus (deut­sche Über­set­zung vom Inha­ber die­ser Sei­te). Sie bezieht sich auf eine Aus­stel­lung in der unmit­tel­ba­ren Umge­bung des Wahl­lo­kals, bei der die nicht mehr demo­kra­tisch reprä­sen­tier­ten Bür­ge­rin­nen und Bür­ger Lon­gye­ar­by­ens ihren Fuß­ab­druck in der Gesell­schaft sym­bo­lisch sicht­bar machen wol­len.

Today, Lon­gye­ar­by­en votes a new local coun­cil, but about one third of the for­mer voters have lost their voting rights becau­se they are for­eig­ners. The group “unwan­ted for­eig­ners” have issued the fol­lo­wing text as a press release (Eng­lish trans­la­ti­on from Nor­we­gi­an by the owner of this web­site).

Press release: Longyearbyen’s “unwan­ted for­eig­ners”

Local elec­tions in Lon­gye­ar­by­en today – a pain­ful day for non-Nor­we­gi­an citi­zens. They have lost their voting rights.
During ear­lier local elec­tions, non-Nor­we­gi­an citi­zens could vote as soon as they had lived in Lon­gye­ar­by­en for at least three years – just as in main­land Nor­way.

Longyearbyen Lokalstyre, community council elections 2023

Exhi­bi­ti­on of sym­bo­lic foot­prints of citi­zens who lost their voting rights in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.
Pho­to: Chris­tia­ne Hüb­ner. Click here for a high-reso­lu­ti­on ver­si­on of this image.

With the new regu­la­ti­ons, most of them have lost their demo­cra­tic rights.

Today, local elec­tions are being held in Lon­gye­ar­by­en – many locals who have lived in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and con­tri­bu­ted to the com­mu­ni­ty and eco­no­my for years are now excluded. They are repre­sen­ted in silence, as appro­pria­te for tho­se who have lost their voice
Here are some of their foot­prints in the com­mu­ni­ty of Lon­gye­ar­by­en:

Longyearbyen Lokalstyre, community council elections 2023

Sym­bo­lic foot­prints of for­eig­ners who have lost their voting rights Lon­gye­ar­by­en.
Pho­to: Chris­tia­ne Hüb­ner. Click here for a high-reso­lu­ti­on ver­si­on of this image.

  • I have been making your food sin­ce 2017
  • 9 years on the island. Have a Nor­we­gi­an com­pa­ny with 5 employees
  • Local for 15 years – I have voting rights in Trond­heim but no lon­ger here!
  • 19 years on Sval­bards. Will res­cue you from a snow ava­lan­che
  • 21 years in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Elec­ted mem­ber of the local coun­cil
  • Owner of a com­pa­ny and mem­ber of the gui­de asso­cia­ti­on
  • 3 years in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Scan­di­na­vi­an citi­zen. :o(
  • 4 years in Lon­gye­ar­by­en – local gui­de
  • Will res­cue you from a crev­as­se
  • Have never befo­re felt that it was „you“ and „us“ befo­re
  • 8 years on the island. Will repair your clo­thes. Own a Nor­we­gi­an com­pa­ny with 3 employees
  • We are Lon­gye­ar­by­en
  • I will make sure that you have a good din­ner after your mara­thon
  • Grew up in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Have lear­nt Nor­we­gi­an values at school
  • Stood for the elec­tions last time. 16 years Sval­bard. Oslo thinks that I know less about Sval­bards poli­tics than a fresh gra­dua­te of Sval­bard fol­kehøgs­ko­le
  • Sámi, women, for­eig­ners – we have been through all of that. Voting rights for ever­y­bo­dy!
  • 20 years in Lon­gye­ar­by­en – work­ed for UNIS, NP, sci­ence coun­cil
  • 3 years on the island with my fami­ly – working in cus­to­mer ser­vice and vol­un­t­a­ri­ly
  • 20 years on Sval­bard. 20 years in local com­pa­nies. Love Lon­gye­ar­by­en and the peo­p­le who live here. Voting rights for ever­y­bo­dy
  • Grew up in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Went to Nor­we­gi­an school in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Speak Nor­we­gi­an well. But not a part of this com­mu­ni­ty
  • 12 years for no say
  • Nor­we­gi­an guy – 9 years in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. No point in voting any­mo­re
  • 7 years on the island. Run a recy­cling work­shop as a vol­un­teer, lead Sval­bard Gui­de Asso­cia­ti­on & work as a gui­de year round. Work­ed for UNIS
  • Vol­un­teer sin­ce 2017. Clea­ned Sval­bard from pla­s­tic, Red Cross, Sval­bard sports club
  • 5,5 years on the island. Con­tri­bu­ted to the local com­mu­ni­ty, now con­side­red wort­hl­ess
  • 12 years on the island – washing your house
  • 7 years on Sval­bard – Sval­bard – gui­de + local busi­ness owner – working with 15 local com­pa­nies + others on main­land. Con­tri­bu­ting direct­ly into the Nor­we­gi­an eco­no­my… but we still don’t real­ly count?
  • 7 years on Sval­bard – gui­de + logi­stics mana­ger Polar X – pre­vious­ly voted! We make the docu­men­ta­ries that influence the world’s view of Sval­bard + our wild­life … but we’re not important enough to influence our local poli­tics
  • Who else is gon­na have the pati­ence to ser­ve Nor­we­gi­ans their drinks…
  • Lon­gye­ar­by­en is my home
  • 10 years on Sval­bard – Only here doing cri­ti­cal work for the sta­te! I have fri­ends who died! for the right to vote. Nor­way is no bet­ter than Rus­sia
  • 8 years on Sval­bard. 2.5 years on main­land. PROUD CANA­DI­AN. Essen­ti­al worker 4 Nor­way. Your ‘demo­cra­cy’ is a joke… our lives are not. Shame on you
  • 29 years on Sval­bard. I felt wel­co­me when I came here then
  • 11 years of sci­ence and tea­ching arc­tic eco­lo­gy
  • Demo­cra­cy is a thing to stand for
  • It meant some­thing to con­tri­bu­te to the reno­va­ti­on of Nor­dens­ki­oldhyt­ta during the pan­de­mic
  • Mine worker
  • Sval­bard: cor­ner­stone of my life in 26 years. And now sud­den­ly second class citi­zen
  • 1 year on the island. UNIS stu­dent and mem­ber of the gui­de asso­cia­ti­on
  • 6 years on the island. Can res­cue you from a snow ava­lan­che
  • It gives me plea­su­re to con­tri­bu­te to the deve­lo­p­ment of Lon­gye­ar­by­en after the coal age
  • 12 years on the island and could vote pre­vious­ly. In 17 years, my son can vote, hop­eful­ly tog­e­ther with me
  • Proud­ness is best in com­mu­ni­ty, not natio­na­li­ty

Chris­tia­ne Hüb­ner and Wolf­gang Hüb­ner-Zach also lost their voting rights and initia­ted the exhi­bi­ti­on. The quo­ta­ti­ons are from locals who are now left wit­hout voting rights.

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last modification: 2023-10-09 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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