Norwegian Politics, Politics | The struggle to get past the magic barrier: – Everyone sees that this is not very democratic

Venstre, Krf, MDG, and Rødt swim around the barrier’s boundary – but what happens if the parties surrender?


The limit limit is the minimum level of support that a political party must have in order to obtain an even mandate as seats in the Storting.

In Norway, the blocking limit is four percent.

Surveys from June show that the Christian Liberals and Democrats are currently well below the threshold. MDG and Red have just ended. If the result in September is for all four parties to fall below the threshold, Storting will lack significant representation from the key parties.

The importance of the barrier

Norwegian barrier border this means that in practice the parties that will participate in the distribution of the 19 equalization mandates in the Storting must have four percent or more of the vote nationally.

Seher Aydar, the second candidate for Red Oslo, believes this is too high and believes the limit should be lowered significantly.

– Everyone sees that this is very undemocratic. Rødt believes the limit should be lowered to two percent, Aydar told Nettavisen.

Gunnar Stavrum: Lower the limit! We need KrF, Rødt, Ventre and MDG in Storting

The aim of the current scheme is to ensure that the representation of the parties to the Storting matches the support they have in the population.

But if today’s election poll were election results, some parties would be on the verge of falling below the threshold. This attracted attention, and many disagreed about what it meant for politics in Norway.

Facts about barrier boundaries

  • The blocking limit in Norway is 4 percent.
  • The blocking limit applies to 19 equalization mandates.
  • The boundary line has nothing to do with the district’s 150 mandates.
  • Barrier limits vary between countries:
  • In Turkey, it is 10 percent.
  • In Denmark it is 2 percent.
  • In the Netherlands, they have no restrictions.




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– What will Rødt do if they fall below the barrier limit?

– Our plan is to make record picks and put the barrier behind us, and at the time of writing, polls suggest we’ll make it. But either way, Rødt will of course use all his mandate and political power to settle with Norway, Aydar told Nettavisen.

The importance of participation

Norway is governed through a multi-party system. That is, the country’s political system consists of large and small parties. This distinguishes Norway from, for example, the UK, where two parties dominate politics.

Norway’s multi-party system is many reasons why many people refer to Norway as a well-functioning democracy, where the population feels represented by the state.



The Vårt Land newspaper wrote earlier this week that if small parties do not cross the threshold, 300,000 votes could be lost. This is because the parties will not be allocated any of the 19 equalization mandates in the Storting, which means that the parties will have minimal influence on the policies to be taken.

In the last Storting election, Red received 70,000 votes, but only one seat. Krf received 123,000 votes and the equivalent of 8 seats. Mathematically pure, that gave 15,000 votes per mandate for Krf, compared to Rødt’s 70,000 votes for a single mandate.

Gunnar Stavrum wrote in a comment on Nettavisen that the basic principle is that there is an approximately equal number of votes behind each mandate. Not like the example above.

The background to this argument is that if all parties had the same number of votes behind each mandate, the population would be more likely to experience that their own votes were counted.

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FRP will raise the limit limit

However, not all parties agree on whether the current threshold is fair or not. The Progress Party will even raise the bar in Norway to five percent.

Storting’s representative for the Frp, Roy Steffensen, told Nettavisen that the barrier barrier was introduced with the intention of making it easier to gain a governing majority in Storting. He believes that the current system means that smaller parties block important issues.

“We believe the current system means that smaller parties have far more influence than voter support shows, and so we have ultimately decided that the limit should be increased,” Steffensen told Nettavisen.

He worries that the growing power of smaller parties will lead to lower turnout for years.

– There are many small parties, and to be elected you can be elected by direct mandate in each constituency. There are 150 places of these, and there is no limit. There are more than enough opportunities for individual representatives from smaller parties to be elected from the districts in which they run, Steffensen stressed.

In other words, the parties have different views on whether the “high” bar is more or less democratic.

Take the Nettavisen party test and find out if you are one of those who will lift one of the parties over the barrier this fall:



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