Valg 2011 – Norway Goes To The Polls

Today and tomorrow Norway votes in local and regional elections. With my political background it's been an interesting experience to be in another country during an election campaign. It is of course the first election here since the July attacks and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's Labour party are expected to do well, they've seen a 5-7% bounce in the polls since the attacks. However, support for the far-right Progress party has only dipped slightly, despite the negative publicity (Anders Behring Breivik was a member in the past)

Some points I noted:

  • Despite being local elections, the leaders are still very much the focus of the campaigns, including televised leaders debates
  • The EIGHT main party leaders take part in the televised debates, giving a fair platform to the minor parties
  • The quality of the distributed literature is much higher, all full-colour glossy material – I've not seen a single Focus-style leaflet!
  • Campaign stalls are all over the city including in the suburbs. I'd seen more of this in the UK in the last few years, but not to this extent
  • Engagement with politics and perhaps most importantly, understanding of the political system, seems higher here and so the debates focus on issues, not tactical voting messages

One interesting tactic from the Labour party has been the distribution of red roses, a very emotive message following the prominence of red roses in the aftermath of the Oslo & Utøya attacks. I'm not sure if this is normal and happens every year, or if the Labour party are playing the emotive card. Perhaps some of my more seasoned Oslofolk readers can comment? UPDATE: It seems this is normal from the Labour party and roses are distributed before every election (I should have mentioned the party emblem is a red rose). Perhaps this shows my cynical UK political background more than anything else 😉

Here's some of the literature that's been thrust into my hand over the past few days:

God valg!

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.


  1. after you’ve been registered here for 3 years you’ll be able to vote too. Albeit only in local elections etc. (Not the General Election). But that is still more that is allowed in England etc.
    We voted last time and will be doing so again.
    Up until midnight Friday, commune dependent, you could vote online, or at special ‘pre-voting day’ places. Personally, I like the ‘event’ of going to vote. But there is a real emphasis to try and get as many folk to vote as possible.
    You can also ‘split’ your vote for more than one candidate/party. 🙂

  2. Actually, that’s much less than is allowed in England these days 😛

    When you say split, is there a party list and candidate list, so you can vote for a party and a different candidate, or can you literally split your vote in half and give 1/2 vote to one party and 1/2 vote to another?

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