Kommunusamanlegging og politisk umboð

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In the 2004 election the number of Faroese municipal councils was reduced from 48 to 34. The next election will take place in November 2008. By then the number of municipalities is expected to be reduced further, following a law passed in the Parliament (Løgting) February 2007 which sets up a new municipal system concisting of seven regions. Each region may either be constituted as a municipality unit or as a cooperation between diverse independent municipalities. Several municipalities are now discussing full amalgamation. This article about the ongoing structural changes in Faroese municipal politics consists of three parts. First the present amalgamation of Faroese municipalities is discussed in the light of theoretical contributions, focusing on basic values of local government, and possible conflicts between small size democracy and system capacity. The local government system in the Faroes (as in Iceland) has traditionally been constituted by many small municipalities. Larger municipalities are expected to be more able to manage new policy tasks, welfare policy being of main current interrest. However, a reduction to fewer municipalities also means fewer people elected to the municipal councils. The consequences for the local democracy will probably be that far less people will be directly involved in local politics in the future. The number was reduced from 272 in 2000 to 220 in 2004. The proposal of a radical structural reform with only seven municipal councils may reduce the total number of Faroese local politicians to less than 80. The second part of the article deals with the question of how the reduction of municipal councils already seems to effect the recruitment of local politicians. Results from surveys among the nominated candidates for the 2000 and 2004 elections reveal harder competition. Those with experience as elected representatives are often reelected, as this tendency is stronger in 2004 than in 2000, making it harder for new-comers to enter office. The share of candidates and elected with high education is higher in 2004 than in 2000, and the survey from 2004 also shows that the share of wealthy people amongst the elected is considerably higher than the distribution of wealth in the population will indicate. The under-representation of female politicians in the Faroes is already well known, but this survey also reveals barriers for new-comers, the less wealthy and the less educated to enter municipal councils. The third part of the article draws attention to how the present electoral system favours candidates who can afford expensive electoral campaigns - a threat to fair representation in the municipal councils.
Original languageFaroese
Title of host publicationFrændafundur 6
Subtitle of host publicationFyrilestrar frá føroyskari-íslendskari ráðstevnu í Tórshavn 26.-28. juni 2007 / fyrirlestrar frá færeysk-íslenskri ráðstefnu í Þórshöfn 26.-28. juni 2007
EditorsTurið Sigurðardóttir, Magnús Snædal
Place of PublicationTórshavn
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9789991865201
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameAnnales Societatis Scientiarum Færoensis
ISSN (Print)0365-6772


  • Faroe Islands
  • municipalities
  • politics

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