Tag Archives: Labor Party

ELECTION 2019: Labor barely wins most votes (for now), but Liberals poised to take over leadership of local council

Labor barely won the most votes as of now, but Liberals are the ones who may be claiming victory for the next four years.

Who will lead Longyearbyen during the next four years remains very much in doubt following the local council election, as a preliminary vote count Monday night shows Labor edging Liberals 342 to 333. Both parties will get five of the 15 council seats with those totals and, while Labor has presided over the majority for the past 16 years, Liberals may have the advantage in forming a majority coalition during discussions in the coming days with the three other parties on the ballot.

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.

Right turn: Conservatives pull even with Labor on local council; offer mayor’s spot to Liberals in bid for majority

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Maybe it was the common practice of ousting the ruling party during a crisis. Maybe it was the pledge to seek more help from the national government to retain existing jobs. Maybe they were driven to vote at the last minute by a poll showing them losing badly. Maybe it was an appeal to the large – and largely ignored – bloc of non-Norwegian voters.

Or maybe (you saw this coming) it was some combination of them.

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.

Incumbent: Top Labor Party candidate is the most experienced pol – and despite tough times says that’s a good thing

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Being the ruling party is great – unless things descend into a crisis and everyone else starts attacking you for what you’ve done wrong.

But Arild Olsen, the top-ranking candidate for the Labor Party, argues he’s more experienced, more familiar with those problems and his party has more practical solutions for them.

What now? Store Norske seeks short-term help, but town’s long-term future perilous as layoffs begin quickly

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To the extent there’s hope, it’s mostly that somebody somewhere will think of something.

The first round of layoffs that will ultimately leave Store Norske with about 100 of its current 270 employees is likely to occur next week, said Arild Olsen, the union steward for the workers. He estimated 40 to 50 employees may be affected, most of whom will likely get a three-month notice period.