There wasn’t only a national election in Norway this week. Seats in the Sami Parliament in Karasjok, Northern Norway were also up for grabs, with the Norske Samers Riksforbund (NSR) winning the largest block, followed by Nordkalottfolket and the Labour Party.
NRS and Labour have agreed on many issues recently, with both battling mining projects and wind energy viewed as threatening Sami reindeer herding in Northern Norway. Both parties have backed protesters who’ve been blocking a controversial copper mining operation that will dump tailings in the Repparfjord, threatening wild salmon stocks, and they also oppose more wind power projects in Sami areas. They also both want the Norwegian Parliament to pay much more attention to the Sami Parliament.
The two parties insist, however, that they’re actually rivals brought together to protest the last national government that was led by the Conservative Party for the past eight years. It also lost, to Labour, last Monday, giving Labour in the Sami Parliament hope that they’ll now gain more influence.
NSR remained largest after the recent election, winning 31.2 percent of the vote. It was followed by Nordkalottfolket, with 19.1 percent and Labour with 14.8 percent. The Center Party won 9.7 percent, Arja 5.4 percent, Samefolkets Parti 5.3 percent and the Progress Party 4.8 percent.
Newspaper Klassekampen reported that with the exception of Progress, all parties now represented in Parliament agreed to promote the Sami language and culture. More than 20,000 people were eligible to vote for the Sami Parliament, with early voting reaching record high levels this year.