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Racism paving the way to government? March 1, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Norwegian politics, Political behavior , trackback

The so called “long campaign” before the Norwegian parliamentary election is well under way, and once again it appears that immigration will be a central topic. In the aftermath of a controversy over whether or not to allow islamic headdress (hijab) with Norwegian police uniforms, the populist right-wing party Fremskrittspartiet has started campaigning about the so called secret “Islamization” of Norwegian society. If they succeed in keeping this a hot topic throughout the campaign, previous experience shows they might gain  much in terms of votes.

Fremskrittspartiet has always been a party critical to immigration and foreign cultural influence. It may not be quite fair to compare them with Jörg Haider in Austria or Gert Wilders in the Netherlands, but to a certain degree they play on some of the same fears.

In a project paper I previously posted on this blog, one of the few clearly significant correlations I could find in the occasionally rather contradictory voter mass of this party was between the propensity to vote for FrP and a scepticial attitude to foreign culture. In previous elections they have gained much whenever immigration and scepticism to foreign cultures has been allowed to become a dominant topic in the election campaigns

At the moment, foreign influence on Norwegian culture is one of the hot topics in Norwegian politics. But the election is still many months off, and it will take hard work, skill and some luck for Fremskrittspartiet to be able to keep this topic alive all the way until September, but if they manage it they might actually be able to make their ambitions for government power somewhat more credible than they are today.

And with so much to gain, I suspect that Fremskrittspartiet will give it a go. Besides the general comments about islamization, party leader Siv Jensen has also recently launched (verbal) attacks at a university college for allowing an imam that denies Holocaust to speak to students and the government for letting international agreements get in the way of expelling suspected Iraqi terrorist-supporter Mullah Krekar.

We may be looking at a season of political debate that might become very ugly indeed…

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