Sami Parliament of Norway

The Sami Parliament of Norway ("Sámediggi" in Northern Sami, "Sämitigge" in Inari Sami, "unicode|Säämteǧǧ" in Skolt Sami) is the representative body for people of Sami heritage in Norway. It act as an institution of cultural autonomy for the indigenous Sami people.

The Parliament was opened on 9 October 1989. The seat is in Kárášjohka (Karasjok). It currently has 43 representatives, who are elected every four years by direct vote from 13 constituencies. The next election is in 2009. Unlike in Finland, the 13 constituencies cover all of Norway. The current president is Egil Olli who represents the Labour Party.

History

In 1964, the Norwegian Sámi Council was established to address Sámi matters. The members of the body were appointed by state authorities. This body was replaced by the Sami Parliament.

In 1978, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate published a plan that called for the construction of a dam and hydroelectric power plant that would create an artificial lake and inundate the Sami village of Máze. This plan was met by strong opposition from the Sámi, and resulted in the Alta controversy. As a result of the controversy, the Norwegian government held meetings in 1980 and 1981 with a Sámi delegation appointed by the Norwegian Sámi Association, the Sámi Reindeer Herders’ Association of Norway and the Norwegian Sámi Council. The meetings resulted in the establishment of a committee to discuss Sámi cultural issues, and the "Sámi Rights Committee" addressing Sámi legal relations. The latter proposed a democratically elected body for the Sámis, resulting in the Sámi Act of 1987. In addition, the "Sámi Rights Committee" resulted in the 1988 amendment of the Norwegian Constitution, and the adoption of the Finnmark Act in 2005. [http://www.galdu.org/govat/doc/eng_damning.pdf]

The [http://www.lovdata.no/all/nl-19870612-056.html Sámi Act] (1987:56), stipulating the responsibilities and powers of the Norwegian Sami Parliament, was passed by the Norwegian Parliament on 12 June 1987 and took effect on 24 February 1989. The first session of the Sami Parliament was convened on 9 October 1989 and was opened by King Olav V.

Organization

The Norwegian Sámi Parliament "plenary" (dievasčoahkkin) has 43 representative elected by direct vote from 13 constituencies. The plenary is the highest body in the Sami Parliament and it is sovereign in the execution of the Sami Parliaments duties within the framework of the Sámi Act. The representatives from the largest party (or from a collaboration of parties) form an "executive council" (Sámediggeráđi), and selects a "president" and "vice-president". The executive council is responsible for executing the roles and responsibilities of the parliament between plenary meetings. In addition there are multiple thematic committees addressing specific cases. http://www.galdu.org/govat/doc/eng_samediggi.pdf]

Presidents

The current president is Egil Olli representing the Labour Party.

The presidents have been:
* Aili Keskitalo from 2005 to 2007, representing Norwegian Sámi Association.
* Sven-Roald Nystø from 2001 to 2005, representing Norwegian Sámi Association.
* Sven-Roald Nystø from 1997 to 2001, representing Norwegian Sámi Association.
* Ole Henrik Magga from 1993 to 1997, representing Norwegian Sámi Association.
* Ole Henrik Magga from 1989 to 1993, representing Norwegian Sámi Association.

Location

The Sami Parliament of Norway is located in Kárášjohka (Karasjok), and the building was inaugurated on 2 November 2000. There are also offices Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino), Unjárga (Nesseby), Gáivuotna (Kåfjord), Tysfjord, and Snåsa.

In 2006 about 115 people were employed.

Responsibilities

The parliament works with political issues it considers relevant or of interest to the Sami people. The responsibilities of the Sami Parliament in Norway are: "(1) to serve as the Sámis’ elected political body to promote political initiatives and (2) to carry out the administrative tasks delegated from national authorities or by law to the Sámi Parliament.".

The extent of responsibility that was assigned and transferred from the Norwegian government at the time of establishment was modest (1989). However, more responsibilities have been added including [http://www.galdu.org/govat/doc/eng_samediggi_adm.pdf] :
* Management of the Sámi Development Fund, which is used for grants to Sámi organizations and Sámi duodji (1989).
* Responsibility for the development of the Sámi language in Norway, including allocation of funds to Sami language municipalities and counties (1992).
* Responsibility for Sámi culture with a Sámi culture, including a fund from the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs (1993).
* Protection of Sámi cultural heritage sites (1994).
* Development of Sámi teaching aids, including allocation of grants for this purpose (2000).
* Election of 50% of the members to the board in the Finnmark Estate (2006).

One of the responsibilities is ensuring that the section 1–5 of the [http://www.lovdata.no/all/nl-19870612-056.html Saami Act] (1987:56) is upheld, i.e., that the Sami languages and Norwegian continue to have the same status. A good example of this is the current situation in Tysfjord, where speakers of Lule Sami cannot conduct their official business in that language as the municipality has not provided anyone who can speak it to assist them. This is the only municipality in Norway where speakers of that language should theoretically be able to speak it with officials, but this has not come to fruition; therefore, the Saami Parliament must fight for this cause with Tysfjord and must bring it to the attention of the Norwegian Government, if Tysfjord fails to rectify the situation.

Funding

Funding is granted by the Norwegian state over various national budget lines. But the parliament can distribute the received funds according to its own priorities. In the Norwegian government the main responsibility for Sami affairs, including the allocation of funds, is the "Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion".

The total budget for the Norwegian Sami Parliament has been about:

* 2008: 311 million NOK [ [http://www.nrk.no/kanal/nrk_sami_radio/1.3662725 49,1 millioner mer til samiske formål - NRK Sámi Radio - NRK ] ] .
* 2007: 275 million NOK (ibid).
* 2006: 260 million NOK.

In addition the parliament controls the 75 million NOK in "Samefolkets fond". A fund established in 2000 as compensation for the governments Norweganization policy.

Elections

To be eligible to vote or be elected to the Norwegian Sami Parliament a person needs to be included in the Sámi census. In order ti included the following criteria must be met as stipulated in Section 2–6 of the Sámi Act: "Everyone who declares that they consider themselves to be Sámi, and who either has Sámi as his or her home language, or has or has had a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent with Sámi as his or her home language, or who is a child of someone who is or has been registered in the Sámi census, has the right to be enrolled in the Sámi census in the municipality of residence." [http://www.galdu.org/govat/doc/eng_sami.pdf]

Norway is divided into 13 constituencies. For each 3 representatives are elected. In addition an additional representative is elected from the four constituencies with most votes. For the 2005-2009 election the constituencies were:

In the county of Finnmark:
* Várjjat (the municipalities of: Sør-Varanger, Unjárga (Nesseby), Vadsø, Vardø and Båtsfjord).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Magnhild Mathisen, Gunn-Britt Retter, and Knut Store
** The highest electoral turnout in 2005 (79.1%).
* Deatnu (the municipalities of: Deatnu (Tana), Berlevåg and Gamvik).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Marianne Balto Henriksen, Jánoš Trosten, and Per Ivar Henriksen.
* Kárášjohka (Karasjok) municipality.
**Representatives (2005-2009): Egil Olli, Terje H. Tretnes, Synnøve Solbakken-Härkönen, and Marie Therese Nordsletta Gaup.
* Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino) municipality.
**Representatives (2005-2009): Aili Keskitalo, Per Andersen Bæhr, Isak Mathis O. Hætta, and Klemet Erland Hætta.
**The largest constituency in 2005 (1 313 eligible voters).
**Most votes per members in 2005 election (277).
* Porsáŋgu (the municipalities of: Porsáŋgu (Porsanger), Lebesby, Nordkapp and Måsøy).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Josef Ingmar Vedhugnes, Olaf Eliassen, and Wiebke Synnøve Slåtsveen.
* Áltá/Fálesnuorri (the municipalities of: Kvalsund, Hammerfest, Alta, Hasvik and Loppa).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Per Edvind Varsi, John Harald Skum, Toril Bakken, and Inger Jørstad.

In the county of Troms:
* Davvi Romsa (Kvænangen, Nordreisa, Skjervøy, Gáivuotna (Kåfjord), Storfjord and Lyngen).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Willy Ørnebakk, Tor Mikalsen, and Hilde Anita Nyvoll Vangen.
* Gaska Romsa (Karlsøy, Tromsø, Balsfjord, Målselv, Bardu, Lenvik, Berg, Torsken and Tranøy)
**Representatives (2005-2009): Randi A. Skum, Bjarne Store-Jakobsen, and Lene Hansen.
* Lulli Romsa (Sørreisa, Dyrøy, Salangen, Lavangen, Gratangen, Skånland, Ibestad, Harstad, Bjarkøy and Kvæfjord).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Ann-Mari Thomassen, Berit Oskal Eira, and Susanne Amalie Andersen.

In the county of Nordland:
* Davvi Nordland (Andøy, Øksnes, , Sortland, Hadsel, Vågan, Vestvågøy, Flakstad, Moskenes, Værøy, Røst, Lødingen, Tjeldsund, Evenes and Narvik).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Kjersti Myrnes Balto, Vibeke Larsen, and Roger Pedersen.
**The smallest constituency in 2005 (283 eligible voters).
**Least votes per members in 2005 election (63).
* Gaska Nordland (Ballangen, Tysfjord, Hamarøy, Steigen, Sørfold, Bodø, Fauske, Saltdal, Gildeskål, Beiarn, and Meløy).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Tone Finnesen, Anders Urheim, and Miriam Paulsen.

For the remaining counties of southern Norway:
* Lullisámeguovllut (the remaining municipalities in Nordland, Engerdal municipality in Hedmark county, and the counties of Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag).
**Representatives (2005-2009): Jarle Jonassen, Sten Erling Jønsson, and Kirsten Appfjell.
* Lulli Norga (the counties of Møre og Romsdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Hordaland, Rogaland, Vest-Agder, Aust-Agder, Telemark, Buskerud, Vestfold, Akershus, Østfold, Oppland, Hedmark (except Engerdal) and Oslo)
**Representatives (2005-2009): Rita-Alise Porsanger, Jørn Are Gaski, Johan Mikkel Sara, and Kirsti Guvsám.
**The lowest electoral turnout in 2005 (66.8%)

2005-2009

The following parties had an electoral list ("listu" in Sami, and "liste" in Norwegian) in one or more constituencies at the 2005 election:

*Labour Party
**Largest party in 2005 election (18 mandates, the same as Norwegian Sami Association)
*Centre Party
*Norwegian Sami Association (NSR)
**Largest party in 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005 election.
*Sami People Association ("Sámiid Álbmotlihttu" in Northern Sami and "Samefolkets forbund" in Norwegian)
*Várjjat Sámeálbmot Lihttu (Norwegian Sami Association and Sami People Association joint list)
*Socialist Left Party
*Sami League of Nation
*The Sami People Party
*Liberal
*Badjeolbmuid Listu (Kárašjohka Reindeer herders list)
*Johttisápmelaččaid Listu (Guovdageaidnu reindeer herders list)
*Conservative Party
*Guovdageainnu Dáloniid Listu (Non-reindeer herders list)
*Progress Party
*Finnmark list (local list in Alta/Kvalsund)
* Sami Red Electoral Alliance
*Middle Nordland all-party list
*Åarjel læstoe (the South list)
*Sami resident in Southern-Norway
* Salten Sami association and Norwegian Sami Association (combined electoral list).

The results of the vote where that [no icon [http://www.ssb.no/sametingsvalg/tab-2005-12-19-02.html Tabell 2 Sametingsvalet 2005. Valde representantar, etter parti1, kjønn og valkrins ] ] :
*Norwegian Sami Association got 18 representatives (and for the first time did not have the majority in the parliament).
*Labour Party also got 18 representatives.
*Johttisápmelaččaid Listu, Åarjel læstoe, Sami People's Party, Finnmark list, Dáloniid Listu, Centre Party, and Sami resident in Southern-Norway each got 1 representative.

Since no party had a majority of the mandates a coalition was formed for the executive council consisting of: Norwegian Sami Association, Sami resident in Southern-Norway, Johttisápmelaččaid Listu, Centre Party, and Sami People's Party. [ [http://www.nsr.no/website.aspx?objectid=1&displayid=10316 Norgga Sámiid Riikkasearvi - Norske Samers Riksforbund - Samarbeidsavtale mellom NSR og gruppen på fire representanter 2005 ] ] Aili Keskitalo from the Norwegian Sami Association was elected as the president. Johan Mikkel Sara from Sami resident in Southern-Norway got the vice president position, while Per A. Bær got a seat in the board of the Finnmark Estate. The six members in the executive council consisted in addition to the president and vice-president of: Terje Tretnes (Sami People's Party), Randi A. Skum, and Jarle Jonassen (the later both from Norwegian Sami Association).

Later Jánoš Trosten left Norwegian Sami Association and formed his own party: "Čielga Sámi Jietna", while Anders Urheim left the Labour party and formed the "Sosialdemokraten" group. Thus leaving, the two largest parties with 17 mandates each.

After the election in 2005 Aili Keskitalo became president. She represents the Norwegian Sámi Association. On September 25th she resigned after the coalition forming the executive council was split up due due to problems cooperating with vice president Johan Mikkel Sara [ [http://www.nrk.no/kanal/nrk_sami_radio/1.3566043 – Ingen hyggelig dag - NRK Sámi Radio - NRK ] ] .

On September 26th Labour Party formed an executive council consisting of: the new president Egil Olli, new vice-president Marianne Balto, Jørn Are Gaski, Hilde Nyvoll, and Vibeke Larsen. The Labour Party does not have the majority in the parliament.

Cooperation with the state government

In the Norwegian central administration the coordinating organ and central administrator for Sámi issues is the "Department of Sámi and Minority Affairs" in the "Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion". This department also coordinates interministerial and Nordic state cooperation regarding Sámi issues. The Sámi Parliament is consulted when state government issues affect Sámi interests. [http://www.galdu.org/govat/doc/eng_sami_issues.pdf] .

References

ee also

* Sami parliaments
** Sámi parliament of Finland
** Sámi parliament of Sweden
*Elections in Norway

External links

* [http://www.samediggi.no Sami Parliament of Norway]


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