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Denmark election: From kingmakers to returning children, five things we learned from voting


1. Social Democrats still have the magic

Perhaps no one was more surprised by the Danish election results than outgoing Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who wiped away tears while addressing supporters at her party’s headquarters in Copenhagen on Tuesday night.

During the campaign, there was no certainty that she would be in this position and had spoken of wanting to form a broad national unity government to tackle the problems facing the country – the same problems facing the rest of Europe such as the climate crisis, rising energy prices, the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis.

Ultimately, it was the Social Democrats’ best election result in two decades, with 50 seats secured and enough support from other left-wing parties to form a government – so it remains to be seen whether now , in a position of victory, she will always reach out and form this vast government that she talked about during the election campaign.

2. Moderates have surged, but won’t be kingmakers

For a party that was only formed in the summer, the Moderates performed exceptionally well to win 16 seats and become the third largest party in parliament.

Led by former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussenthe moderates had hoped to find themselves in the role of kingmaker after the votes were counted (and Rasmussen no doubt had visions of becoming prime minister again) but that was not the case, since the left bloc got enough seats combined to win the majority.

3. The ups and downs of the far right

The Danish far right has had its ups and downs over the past two decades.

From 2001 to 2011, and again from 2016 to 2019, the Danish People’s Party (DPP) supported the governments of the time (including the government of Lars Løkke Rasmussen, see above) and therefore had a seat at the table negotiations when it came to making political decisions in line with what their voters wanted: cracking down on migrants.

In the 2014 European Parliament elections, the DPP became the largest Danish party, winning 27% of the vote.

Fast forward to 2022, and the fortunes of Danish far-right parties are mixed.

The Danish People’s Party went out of style, winning only five seats (compared to 16 in the last election, where it had already lost 21 seats compared to the previous elections).

But the right-wing mantle has been taken over by the Danish Democrats, another party officially launched in June this year, led by former minister Inger Støjberg, who secured 14 seats.

Does the name Støjberg sound familiar to you? In December 2021, she was condemned in his role as Minister of Immigration to illegally separate asylum-seeking couples in which one of the partners was under 18 years of age.

After a rare impeachment trial, Støjberg was sentenced to 60 days in prison. The court found that she had neglected her ministerial duties “intentionally or through gross negligence”.

Now she leads the fifth largest party in parliament. What a difference a year makes.

4. Losers can be winners

Even when it looks like a party did poorly on election night, it might end up winning in the end.

The little Radikale Vestre party — in English, they are called the Social Liberal Party — won only seven MPs in the new parliament, down sharply from the 16 seats they won in the last election.

It is a pro-European party and it has already backed governments to the left and right of Danish politics, so it could still become a ‘winner’ by securing some concessions from Mette Frederiksen as she seeks to form a new government .

This means that the party leader Sofie Carsten Nielsen might be able to soften the government’s stance on immigration issues, where Radikale Venstre has a less strict approach.

Each cloud has a silver line.

5. Smaller constituencies played an outsized role

It was not only voters in mainland Denmark who voted in this general election.

Voters in the Faroe Islands went to the polls on Monday October 31, while Greenlanders voted on November 1.

Each of the territories, which maintains a semi-autonomous relationship with Denmark, sends two parliamentarians to the Folketing in Copenhagen.

Although the left-wing bloc led by Mette Frederiksen secured 87 seats thanks to mainland constituencies, that meant it was still three seats short of securing a majority.

But, as in the 1998 legislative elections, the voices of the North Atlantic played in favor of the Social Democrats: Greenland is back two left-wing MPs from the Siumut and Inuit Ataqatigiit parties, with 47.8% participation; while in the Faroe Islands a Social Democrat deputy was elected, with an overall turnout of 71.3%.



euronews Gt

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