Tag Archives: election

Here’s your ‘OMG! Trump won the election!’ guide to what it may mean for Svalbard

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Tourism and research/work involving environmental issues will suffer. People and businesses that buy things from and/or travel to the U.S. and some other countries will benefit. Russia will get even more aggressive in the Arctic, which means Norway may step up commercial, military and other activities in the far north as well. And, yes, there will probably be a slight uptick in the number of U.S. residents and students, but hardly a mad stampede.

Into blackness: Svalbard’s 12 biggest stories of 2015

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It was already a shell-shocked community beginning to say their farewells to possibly a quarter of the town’s residents, with those left behind worrying about the future of a town with a decimated economic foundation.

Then the avalanche struck.

Either alone ranks among the most significant events in Longyearbyen’s history. Together they may reshape the town more dramatically than at any time since it was almost entirely destroyed during World War II.

Out of left field: Liberal Party defies predictions, joins Labor for new Longyearbyen Community Council majority

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After all the shocks and twists, Longyearbyen’s new political leadership will be pretty much what everybody long expected before the votes were counted.

The Labor Party will retain its leadership of the Longyearbyen Community Council and top-ranked candidate Arild Olsen will be the city’s new mayor starting Tuesday after the newly elected Liberal Party members agreed to form a majority with the Labor members. The general assumption after the Oct. 5 election – by Olsen and other Labor Party members, along with the media and many residents – was the Liberals would shake up the city’s leadership by aligning with the Conservative Party.

Vote for sale: Fight for council majority drags on w/out major bargaining chip as Store Norske’s fate likely set

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Eirik Berger may the least experienced politician in Longyearbyen, but right now he’s arguably the most powerful. And he’s taking his time making sure he doesn’t squander it.

‘Anchor baby’ antithesis: Debate about citizenship for kids of Svalbard parents are familiar, but the pols taking sides aren’t

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It’s no surprise a political debate about “anchor babies” might get ugly but, as with so many things, Svalbard’s fighting it out like nowhere else.

Conservative politicians are enthusiastic about them. The left-leaning Labor Party is denouncing their counterparts for promising to seek changes in immigration laws that will never happen, perhaps winning a significant number of votes from foreign residents in last week’s election in the process.

Not all in a party mood: Many voters Many voters oppose a dominant council majority

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For Turid Telebond, a Longyearbyen resident for the past 40 years, it was inevitable this would be an election of change. But she faced a dilemma where none of the likely outcomes were entirely satisfying.

Rant: For those just wanting the soap opera without the policy muddle, here’s the bizarre election timeline where everyone was king for a moment

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Oct. 2
A Svalbardposten poll shows Labor winning nine of the 15 Longyearbyen Community Council seats (a gain of two from the current council) and nearly 57 percent of the vote. The Liberal Party is dead last with one seat and 9.7 percent.

Oct. 3
This fishwrapper makes the “longshot” prediction the Green Party will win five seats and Labor will retain a plurality of seven. This would be an irrelevant bit of lunacy except:

Oct. 6 (Election Day)
3:30-5 p.m:
Exit poll interviews by Icepeople with voters result in four of the first five saying they voted for the Green Party – not including a candidate on their ballot. Convinced nobody will believe us, we opt not to publish a “voters go to the polls” article before the actual count is announced.

8:40 p.m.: A Person Not To Be Named tells us the advance votes show our “longshot” prediction for the Greens and Labor is correct. We ponder if there’s any chance of making people think we were actually smart rather than stupidly lucky.

Rant: Wait a minute…how is it possible conservatives and liberals are going to join to form a new ruling coalition?

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For those not familiar with Norway’s political parties and the unusual “private sector” economy in Longyearbyen, it might seem inconceivable the Liberal Party would join the Conservative Party (rather than the left-leaning Labor Party) to form a new ruling coalition on the Longyearbyen Community Council.

Especially, since as will be explained shortly, the Conservatives and Liberals (or Right and Left parties, if literally translated) differ fundamentally on perhaps the most important issue of all for at least the short-term, if not their entire four years in office.

Upstart: Top candidate first-time Liberal Party sees a future of many small ideas working to make a big impact

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Eirik Berger isn’t one for big solutions. Instead he favors lots of people coming up with smaller ones.

The top-ranked candidate for the Liberal Party, which is on the ballot for the first time in a Longyearbyen Community Council election, said one of the flaws of the current leadership is “they have focused on replacing one big industry with another big industry” without knowing what it might be. While ambitions of doubling tourism are being discussed, he said it’s a seasonal industry susceptible to tough times.

Bullish: Top Conservative Party candidate expects Longyearbyen to grow rapidly, even if most coal mining is lost

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Torgeir Prytz said he believes Longyearbyen will have 3,000 residents when his first term ends four years from now. Seriously.

The top-ranked candidate for the Conservative Party acknowledges the town may lose 150 or more employees at Store Norske by next summer – which when factoring in families and workers in related industries could mean a loss of 300 to 400 of Longyearbyen’s current 2,100 residents.