Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My input in Dutch democracy

Electronic Voting Machine
Originally uploaded by Nick Sãum.
The European Union is the reason for my restlessness today. Thanks to the EU, I was able to vote in the local elections of Amsterdam today. I am going to break a Finnish social code and tell how and what I voted.

I do not speak that good Dutch. I tried to watch a few election debates during the last few weeks. Results:
- all hosts are men
- all men in this country have curly hair
- the chair of Groen Links (Green Left) Femke Halsema looks very fresh and approachable
- all parties promise security and well-being

I was actually considering skipping voting but in the end could not pass the experience of voting using a machine. I pondered between PvdA (social democrats) and Groen Links. Neither of them is in the current government which is a major plus. Due to my problematic relationship with PvdA's Finnish sister party, I in the end could not vote for social democrats although their key figure in Amsterdam Lodewijk Asscher was critical towards the Red Light Disctrict (hooray!). I just cannot vote for preservationists.

So I went to the local gym hall to vote with my passport and the letter indicating my right to vote. I looked through the candidate lists and did not find familiar names. I actually thought of voting for a person with a funny name (this country does not run out of them...). Well, as I handed my papers to the official, the woman informed me that I had forgotten the other document (to be honest, I did not even know they had two elections). So in the end I voted only for the City Council. I pressed Groen Links in the election machine and got a list of names. And what joy did I experience when I saw a name I recognised. I voted for the first time in my democratic history for a man.

I must say that this is not what I would like to base my decision on. But as a person working 5 days a week and not speaking the language so well, I just could not see myself spending a weekend with some websites and a dictionary. Well, let's hope the chap and his party are worth my trust.


Pinja said...

"I am going to break a Finnish social code and tell how and what I voted."

I was laughing at this, because I have often thought why in hell finnish people behave like this, especially people older than us. I can’t find reason on history. I still can remember when I was a little girl and my mother was voting, maybe this time there was also presidencial –electiones. I asked what did she vote for and she answered –It´ s a secret!! And I asked why it´s a secret? And she said again, that it`s a secret and it´s not okey to ask it. I may think that I was already a teenager when I understood that it doesn´t happen something bad even though somebody tells what he`s going to vote for.

Yes, you really aren’t a such kind of preservator too(:

(And, If I started to vote for SDP, it would be a biiig secret.)

Niko said...

"I voted for the first time in my democratic history for a man."

Have you voted previously for women because of their sex/gender (what's the difference?) or has it just been a coincidence that the best candidate has always been a woman? Or, the third possibility, your democratic history is not yet very long?

Ville said...

"I voted for the first time in my democratic history for a man."

What! You haven't woted for me!?! ;)

I think the way you decided your candidate in elections in Amsterdam, was pretty much the way most people decided who they are going to vote: funny name, pretty picture, first on the list, ...

Tommi Laitio said...

Hmmm....I knew I would get into problems for writing this post. To comment the question raised by my critical readers:
- Niko: My democratic history (in the sense of voting rights) is ten years which means quite a number of elections. I have always preferred voting women to men. And I think I will in the future as well. I have not voted only based on their gender but I have voted for the woman I have found most competent. Yes, it is conscious positive discrimination.
- Ville: will you still speak to me?

Niko said...

That's what I thought (I added the third possibility just to have a complete list of options).

Well, I have voted for both men and women about as many times. Positive discrimination is still discrimination and I'm against that.