Friday, March 26, 2021

Norway's Communist Party (NKP) faces obstacles on the road to parliamentary elections

The parliamentary election in Norway is scheduled to be held on 13 September 2021. The two major bourgeois parties that will contest for the majority of the 169 seats in the Storting, the country's parliament, are the governing Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet) and the opposition Conservative Party. 

Among the political forces that aim to participate in the election is the Communist Party of Norway (NKP), a party of marxist-leninist ideological characteristics which is a member of the European Initiative of Communist and Workers' Parties and a participant in the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties (IMCWP). 

However, the Communist Party has to overcome an important obstacle in order to participate in the upcoming elections. According to the Norwegian electoral law, small parties are required to collect a specific number of signatures in order to be eligible to take part in the election. This regulation applies to all registered political parties which achieved less than 5,000 votes on a national level, or less than 500 in a single constituency, in the previous election.

As the Chairman of the NKP Runa Eversen points out to an interview in “Riktpunkt”, the Communist Party has to collect and submit a total of 9,000 signatures until the 31st of March 2021. The current aim of the NKP is to submit lists in 18 of the 19 constituences, having almost secured its electoral presence in the constituences of Oslo, Nordland and Sør-Trøndelag.

The parties normally have a year and a half to collect the signatures but due to the pandemic and the restriction measures, this task has become much more difficult this year. As Runa Eversen says “due to the pandemic we had to change our methods of work, which means that have to spend a lot of time on social media and the interet, something that takes much longer and makes more difficult to collect the signatures, because people do not have the same inclination to sign if they don't talk to you face to face”.

As Eversen stresses out the NKP applied early for exemption from collecting signatures but the authorities rejected such a possibility. It seems that the Norwegian state plans to set even more obstacles for the participation of smaller parties in the election. According to a new proposal, small parties will have to collect more than 40,000 signatures nationwide, if they want to take part in the electoral process. Practically, if the Communist Party is not able to submit lists in the subsequent election, it faces the danger of being deleted from the list of the registered parties.

Such a development would be a significant blow for the NKP which is the consistent defender of the working class' interests in Norway and a staunch anti-imperialist voice. “Preventing the NKP from running in the elections under the same terms as all other registered and established parties is a method used by the bourgeoisie to suppress her political opponents”, points out Runa Eversen.

The workers, the young men and women of Norway, have every interest to actively support the NKP and the struggle of Norwegian communists, against the obstacles set by the bourgeois mechanisms.