It’s election night in Norway. Local election covering the municipalities and counties. Norway consists of 19 counties, where each county again has a number of municipalities. There are national and local elections every fourth year, both are held separately which means there are two years between each election. We have a multi-party system, which means there are a bunch (say about ten) different parties. These, unless one party really stands out and get a massive amount of votes, must collaborate to form the government, or the local councils. The parties earn seats depending on how large a percentage of the votes they get. A candidate from the party with the most votes is usually placed as prime minister, mayor, or similar positions (depending on the election) – but only if the largest party is able to (form a coalition with other parties in order to) hold the majority of seats.
I have been struggling a lot this year deciding which party to vote for. In fact, I didn’t even make up my mind until I was on my way to vote. I always take an election seriously. A few parties I have eliminated long before I even start thinking about the election, but that still leaves a fair amount of parties to chose from.
This year I narrowed it down to four parties. I started looking at one part, studying the party’s pamphlets and flyers. I looked at their main concerns and goals – nodded, smiled, and I was content with what they were saying. Turned the page and I was happy. I was thrilled and hoped I would be able to make up my mind weeks before the actual election. But I was wrong. I turned the page again. I read a few lines and my heart sank. I sighed, I cursed, and try to find logic in their arguments. I read on, shook my head, sighed again, and felt hope leave my heart. I face-palmed the colourful leaflets. I turned to another party and a new doze of propaganda. History repeated itself: face-palms, sighs, curses, rolling eyes, and desperation. With every one of the four parties, the four parties I was left with after carefully eliminating every one of the others, history repeated itself. I turned to technology, the local newspaper has set up online tests to see which party you should vote for. My highest score was 37%. I could agree with “my” party in 37% of all cases. My other three parties scored somewhere between 32 and 35.
Of course I can’t not vote (yes, double negative, meaning I do have to vote) I at least I have to give my vote to anyone but the parties I early in the process eliminated. A few coin-flips and a few good discussions and a short walk to the ballot boxes later I was able to chose a party. Now, I have given them all I can, my one vote. The only one I got, and I hope they won’t let me down too much. If they do, I guess I have to consider a career in politics myself… (which I just couldn’t do – I find my choices logical, as will everyone else. Which would give me no competition against the other parties and make Norwegian politics logical and perfect, but also plain and boring – it would just be too unfair to everyone else, so I’ll refrain. You’re welcome!)