Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer sends this translation from yesterday’s Aftonbladet, and includes this introductory note:
It seems that the Labour-led coalition government in Norway wants to capitalize on the ‘immigrant vote’. They are very aware that the majority of the third world immigrants will vote for them if they promise to keep their end of the bargain, which of course is to continue with their very liberal immigration policies.
The translated article:
Opposition parties don’t want compulsory voting
The political opposition parties aren’t thrilled about a proposal from the government’s integration committee about introducing mandatory voting in Norway.
A majority of the committee members believe that mandatory voting is an interesting idea which needs to be studied more closely. Such an arrangement could guarantee that all the different ethnic groups in Norway participate in national elections. A minority of the committee members, however, fear that a legal requirement to vote could lead to contempt for the political system.
If the government decided to propose mandatory voting, the task of looking into this will probably fall on The Standing Committee on Local Government and Public Administration. There is little enthusiasm for such a proposal in this committee, writes Aftenposten.
“The act of voting is supposed to come from an inner spirit of civic duty,” says Michael Tetzschner from The Conservative Party (Høyre). He fears what he calls ‘criminalisation of couch potatoes’ if this arrangement provides for the issuing of fines to those voters who choose not to vote without valid reasons.
He believes that the motives behind the proposal are honourable in that it would ensure that voters with an immigrant background exercise their voting rights. But Tetzschner also believes that it challenges the democratic spirit. Democracy also means the right not to vote, argues Tetzschner.
A member of The Standing Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs for the Conservative Party (Høyre), Per-Kristian Foss, points out that Belgium already has such a voting system. Things don’t seem to have improved in Belgium because of it, he says.
Foss instead suggests rekindling the old slogan that ‘to vote is a civic duty’ in which he puts emphasis on the word ‘duty’.
Gjermund Hagesæter from the Progress Party and Geir Bekkevold from the Christian Democratic Party also agree that mandatory voting sounds like a bad idea.