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Leading Labour Party politicians in Oslo believe voters have too much influence in the city and are calling for changes to the country's election laws after immigrant candidates snagged eleven of the party’s 20 seats on the City Council.
Among those backing legislative change is Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who sits on the board of a local Labour committee that wants parties to be able to present voters with a list of 15 hand-picked candidates.
In accordance with current rules, the party populated its list with ten names in this autumn’s city elections
This left voters with plenty of scope to select their own preferred candidates, enabling seven politicians with immigrant backgrounds to sail into winning positions after managing to secure enough personal votes for a seat.
“We’ve now got three representatives from Somalia and Somaliland. That’s in excess of what one might expect,” party veteran Rune Gerhardsen told newspaper VG.
Gerhardsen stressed that his desire for a rule change did not stem from any sense of dissatisfaction with the current councillors, but he did argue there was a need for greater balance.
“Comparatively small pressure groups can make relatively large gains when they apply enough resources. Ethnic groups have shown themselves to be good at mobilizing,” he said.