Silje Karine Muotka is the new president of Norway’s Sámi Parliament

She replaces Aili Keskitalo, who served since 2017.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - September 15, 2021

The Norwegian Sámi Association has won the election for the Sámediggi, or Sámi Parliament of Norway, with more than 31 percent of the votes, figures provided by NRK show, despite a voter boost for its main rival, the North Calotte People.

The Sámi Association, which is is actively engaged also in Sàmi cultural and voluntary work, has been a leading force in Sámi politics for decades and in this week’s election again became the biggest party.

Association leader Silje Karine Muotka will now take over the presidency of Sámediggi. Muotka has long political experience and was previously a member of the parliament’s executive council.

During her election campaign, Muotka warned against “forces that are working against Sámi rights,” and highlighted her opposition to new industry such as wind power farms, and mining industry that dumps tailings into the sea.

But the vote did not come without major competition from the North Calotte People, which more than doubled its number of parliament members. That party won more than 16 percent of the votes and gets eight representatives in the 39 seat assembly.

The North Calotte People was established in 2005 and is today headed by Toril Bakken Kåven. During her election campaign, Kåven highlighted her party’s desire for a liberalized regime on motorized movement into the region’s vast and vulnerable territories, as well as opposition to the expanding protection of local lands.

“Most people know that we do not want additional protection of lands without the approval of the local population and that sustainable use of nature is the best kind of protection,” she said in an election appeal.

The Sámediggi is the representative body for the Indigenous Sámi people of Norway. It acts as an institution of cultural autonomy for the Sámi people and has its 39 members elected every fourth year by direct vote from 7 constituencies.

Aili Keskitalo was the previous president of the assembly, serving since 2017.