OSCE calls Norwegian voting procedures “undemocratic” / News / The Foreigner

OSCE calls Norwegian voting procedures “undemocratic”. Experts criticise lack of equality. Norway is not as democratic as it seems. In a recently released report, the Council calls for the need to send election observers to oversee voting for the forthcoming general election on 14 September. Undemocratic society Like the U.K., Norway is a sovereign constitutional monarchy. According to Morgenbladet, Norway’s societal framework has several principally undemocratic sides to it.

norway, voting, general, election, undemocratic, osce, election, observers, immigrant, problematic, terminology, odihr



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OSCE calls Norwegian voting procedures “undemocratic”

Published on Sunday, 9th August, 2009 at 22:53 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 10th August 2009 at 22:29.

Experts criticise lack of equality.

A Norwegian polling-booth
A Norwegian polling-booth
Photo: Lars Røed Hansen/Wikimedia Commons


Norway is not as democratic as it seems. In a recently released report, the Council calls for the need to send election observers to oversee voting for the forthcoming general election on 14 September.

Undemocratic society

Like the U.K., Norway is a sovereign constitutional monarchy. According to Morgenbladet, Norway’s societal framework has several principally undemocratic sides to it.

“The position of head of state is filled by virtue of inheritance rather than by election. The country’s Lutheran-Protestant beliefs are the state’s official religion. On its way to becoming a democracy, a developing country such as Nepal has rid itself of both monarchic rule and Hinduism as being the state religion. In Norway, we hold on tightly both to a monarchy and a state religion.”

Inequality

Despite Norway having a proportional representation system, the report criticises, amongst other things, the fact that the number of mandates each vote receives is different, depending on where the voter lives.

Although rural constituencies are larger in size than their urban counterparts, their population is lower. In an effort to ensure equality, therefore, the system gives them more seats in parliament. But according to the report, some members from the council’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) have said that the principle contradicts voting equality.

“The Norwegian election process could benefit from closer scrutiny in a few areas, including… the equality of votes among constituencies,” the report states.

Under represented

An example of how the system from 1917 works is that a vote cast in Finnmark has 2.5 times the weight of one cast in Oslo. According to the paper, the commission who oversaw the electoral system of the time thought it natural that their vote should count less, because Oslo was closer to the organs of power. This principle has survived every revision to the system to date.

Statistics from Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå) show that immigrants represent 10.6 percent of the the Norwegian population, with the majority of them living in Oslo. Morgenbladet believes that the system, therefore, weakens this group’s influence.

Furthermore, this percentage is hardly reflected at all when it comes to politics. There are only one or two who can be elected to parliament under this year’s election, and only 13 out of 608 candidates originate from non-western countries. None of them are guaranteed a seat.

Problematic terminology

Before the first immigrants arrived in Norway from Eastern Europe, Norway had a traditionally homogenous society. Whilst this may or may not be a reason for the low number of immigrants represented on this year’s list, not everyone thinks that being an “innvandrer” – the Norwegian word for immigrant – should be an issue anymore.

“It’s outdated to keep fussing about “innvandrere” all the time. We are all members, inhabitants, or fellow human beings of the same society. You cannot define one person differently to others,” Haakon Marcello from Samtidspartiet tells the paper.

Norway’s election law was modified on 08 May 2009 to provide “...for the presence of domestic and international election observers to monitor the conduct of elections,” according to the OSCE’s report, and has invited the ODIHR to come and observe them.

It is expected that 30 international observers will attend.



Published on Sunday, 9th August, 2009 at 22:53 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 10th August 2009 at 22:29.

This post has the following tags: norway, voting, general, election, undemocratic, osce, election, observers, immigrant, problematic, terminology, odihr.





  
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