New political map in Denmark after a change in government

Michael Trinskjær, Director of Aspekta in Denmark, and part of the Interal Global Partnership, gives us his view on the most recent Danish general election, which saw the opposition bloc with the election, taking over from the governing coalition.

On Thursday, June 18th, 2015, a general election was held in Denmark to elect 179 members of the parliament. 175 members are elected in Denmark, and 4 members are elected in Faroe Islands and Greenland.

  • Centre-right bloc wins the Danish election with 51.9 percent of the votes compared to centre- left bloc with 48.1 percent of the votes, although the leading government party Social Democratic Party (A) is now the largest party in parliament with 47 mandates out of 179.
  • Prime Minister, and leader of the centre-left bloc, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, is to pass over her political office to Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who is leading the centre-right coalition. His party, Denmark’s Liberal Party (V), is the third biggest party in parliament with 34 mandates.
  • Danish People’s Party (O), supporting Lars Løkke Rasmussen as Prime Minister, becomes the second largest party in Denmark with 37 mandates in the Danish parliament, and the party is credited for tipping the scale in favor of the centre-right bloc.

In the aftermath of the election results, one of the most interesting topics is the formation of a new government. The negotiations will be characterized by the fact that Danish People’s Party’s landslide victory makes the party larger than Denmark’s Liberal Party which stands to be the governing party. Danish People’s Party has expressed reluctance to enter government, which can result in a narrow centre-right government with Denmark’s Liberal Party in the lead. Furthermore, Denmark’s Liberal Party and Danish People’s Party are in fundamental disagreement with each other on central issues such as economy.

Therefore, a potential new centre-right government can be a weak government, where the supporting parties will try to pull the politics in different directions.

The Social Democrats will lose the governmental power, despite a solid growth and gaining 3 more mandates compared to the general election in 2011, which makes them the largest party in the Danish parliament. Former Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, resigned as party leader due to the defeat, and the Social Democrats are now searching for a new leader for the party and the new opposition bloc. The most likely candidate is Mette Frederiksen, who served as Minister of Labour and Minister of Justice in the resigning government.

Denmark’s Liberal Party’s leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen will be leading the formation of a new government, despite the fact that the party lost 13 mandates compared to the general election in 2011, and had the worst election is the worst in 25 years. Therefore, the party’s victory is fragile (illustrated on the map Largest party per municipality, p. 3), and the new leader of the centre-right bloc will be challenged in his ambitions for Danish politics.

Danish People’s Party has had massive growth and is now the second largest party in the Danish parliament. Danish People’s Party is renowned for being populist and far right-wing. On the far left-wing, Red-Green Alliance has also had an increase in mandates, landing two more seats in the parliament.

The election reflects a tendency for the Danish population to support newer parties like Danish People’s Party (O), the Liberal Alliance (I) and the Alternative have experienced growth, and abandon older parties like the Danish Social Liberal Party (B), the Conservative People’s Party (C) and Socialist People’s Party (F). This might reflect the increased political alienation that exists among the Danish population.

To download and read the rest of the report, including the breakdown of final results, click here

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Lauren Roden

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