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2019 Danish general election
General elections were held in Denmark on 5 June 2019 to elect all 179 members of the Folketing; 175 in Denmark proper, two in the Faroe Islands and two in Greenland. The elections took place ten days after the European Parliament elections.
The elections resulted in a victory for the "red bloc", comprising parties that supported the Social Democrats' leader Mette Frederiksen as candidate for Prime Minister. The "red bloc" -- consisting of the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals, Socialist People's Party, the Red–Green Alliance, the Faroese Social Democratic Party, and the Greenlandic Siumut -- won 93 of the 179 seats, securing a parliamentary majority. Meanwhile, the incumbent governing coalition, consisting of Venstre, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People's Party, and receiving outside parliamentary support from the Danish People's Party and Nunatta Qitornai, was reduced to 76 seats (including the Venstre-affiliated Union Party in the Faroe Islands).
On 6 June 2019, incumbent Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen of the centre-right liberal Venstre party tendered his government's resignation to Queen Margrethe II, allowing her to appoint Frederiksen to form a new government.
At the 2015 general election, a narrow majority was won by the Danish People's Party, Venstre, Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People's Party, colloquially known as the "blue bloc". They won 90 seats in the Folketing versus 89 seats for the remaining parties, all belonging to the "red bloc". Ten days later, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the leader of Venstre, became Prime Minister, when Venstre formed a single-party government supported by the remaining parties in the "blue bloc". In November 2016, Rasmussen formed a new government, now a coalition with Liberal Alliance, and the Conservative People's Party.
Of the 179 members of the Folketing, 175 are elected in Denmark proper, two in Faroe Islands and two in Greenland. In Denmark there are ten multi-member constituencies containing a total of 135 seats directly elected by proportional representation, with seats allocated using a modified version of the Sainte-Laguë method and Hare quota. An additional 40 seats are used to address any imbalance in the distribution of the constituency seats, and are distributed among all parties that cross the 2% election threshold, according to their national vote share.
Voters could choose between casting a personal vote for a candidate, or voting for a political party. The votes given to political parties are distributed among the candidates for that party. This can either be done in proportion to their personal votes, or by giving them to candidates in a predetermined order. All parties except the Red-Green Alliance make use of the first option.
According to the Danish Constitution, the 2019 election was required to be held no later than 17 June 2019, as the previous elections were held on 18 June 2015. The Prime Minister is able to call the election at any date, provided that date is no later than four years from the previous election, and this is cited as a tactical advantage for the sitting government.
For a new party to become eligible to participate in the election, they must be supported by a number of voters corresponding to 1/175 of all valid votes cast in the previous election. A new party registering to contest the 2019 elections required 20,109 voter declarations to participate.
All nine parties that held seats in the Folketing contested the elections. Four other parties also gained ballot access: three new parties on the right and the Christian Democrats, who lost representation in the 2005 election. In October 2016, The New Right, a new right-wing party, became eligible to run in the election, and a year later, in October 2017, the Christian Democrats did likewise. The latter had participated in every election from 1971 to 2005.
In February 2019, the party Klaus Riskær Pedersen, named after its founder, collected the necessary voter declarations and became eligible too, despite, breaking the rules for collection of declarations. Riskær Pedersen found a way to circumvent a 7-day "thinking period" between a voter noting their support for a party and then confirming their signature in the online collection system. Even though the rules did not allow this, they contained no possibility of sanctions. Following this, all political parties in the Folketing agreed to close the loophole and build a new portal for declarations, expected to be available in the end 2020.
In April 2019, following unrest at Nørrebro cause by demonstrations by anti-islamist politician Rasmus Paludan, his party Hard Line managed to collect the required signatures. Paludan, and his party, has been surrounded with controversy. With demonstrations containing activities like throwing the Quran around, burning the Quran and harassing Muslims. In April 2019, Paludan was sentenced for violating a paragraph in the Danish Penal Code colloquially known as the "racism paragraph". He had also circumvented the "thinking period" in the same manner as Riskær Pedersen.
|A||Social Democrats||Mette Frederiksen||26.3%||47 seats|
|O||Danish People's Party||Kristian Thulesen Dahl||21.1%||37 seats|
|V||Venstre||Lars Løkke Rasmussen||19.5%||34 seats|
|Ø||Red-Green Alliance||Pernille Skipper[b]||7.8%||14 seats|
|I||Liberal Alliance||Anders Samulesen||7.5%||13 seats|
|Å||The Alternative||Uffe Elbæk||4.8%||9 seats|
|B||Social Liberals||Morten Østergaard||4.6%||8 seats|
|F||Socialist People's Party||Pia Olsen Dyhr||4.2%||7 seats|
|C||Conservative||Søren Pape Poulsen||3.4%||6 seats|
|K||Christian Democrats||Isabella Arendt (acting)[c]||0.8%||–|
|D||The New Right||Pernille Vermund||Did not contest|
|E||Klaus Riskær Pedersen||Klaus Riskær Pedersen||Did not contest|
|P||Hard Line||Rasmus Paludan||Did not contest|
|E||Republic||Høgni Hoydal||24.5%||1 seat|
|C||Social Democratic Party||Aksel V. Johannesen||24.3%||1 seat|
|B||Union Party||Bárður á Steig Nielsen||23.5%||–|
|A||People's Party||Jørgen Niclasen||18.7%||–|
|D||Self-Government Party||Jógvan Skorheim||1.7%||–|
All parties represented in the Parliament of Greenland were eligible to participate in the elections. In the previous elections, Aleqa Hammond won a seat as a Siumut candidate, but was expelled from the party in August 2016 following a case about misuse of funds from the Folketing. In April 2018, she joined Nunatta Qitornai.
|S||Siumut||Kim Kielsen||38.0%||1 seat|
|IA||Inuit Ataqatigiit||Múte Bourup Egede||38.3%||1 seat|
|A||Atassut||Siverth K. Heilmann||7.4%||–|
|PN||Partii Naleraq||Hans Enoksen||5.1%||–|
|SA||Cooperation Party||Michael Rosing||Did not contest|
|NQ||Nunatta Qitornai||Vittus Qujaukitsoq||Did not contest|
In October 2017, The New Right, a new right-wing political party that became eligible to run in October 2016, listed three demands for a candidate for Prime Minister to receive their support. All three demands were tightenings of the immigration policy.
On 4 June 2018, the Social Democrats, the largest opposition party, stated that if they were to win the election, they wished to form a single-party government led by their leader Mette Frederiksen, i.e. not as a coalition government with the Social Liberal Party. This was done in order to both pursue traditional centre-left issues, and to have a strict immigration policy. Morten Østergaard, the leader of the Social Liberal Party, responded by saying that if the Social Democrats wanted their support, they would also need to give them concessions. The message was welcomed by the anti-immigration Danish People's Party, which supported the centre-right party Venstre in the election. Their leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl, said that this would ensure that they could get through with their immigration policy, no matter which party won the election.
On 26 June 2018, The Alternative, which traditionally is regarded as belonging to the "red bloc", stated that they no longer would support Mette Frederiksen as candidate to become Prime Minister. Instead, they would support their own political leader, Uffe Elbæk, as a way to "pull their seats from the equation" after the election. This was done because they did not regard the other parties' ambitions concerning climate change to be sufficient. The move was met with criticism, as Elbæk's chances are very slim, and it could risk keeping Lars Løkke Rasmussen as Prime Minister.
The election campaign started on 7 May 2019, when Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced that the election would be held on 5 June, which is Constitution Day. At the time of announcement, Mette Frederiksen, leader of the Social Democrats and contender to the office of Prime Minister, was sick and unable to participate in the televised debates between all party leaders held on the same evening. Instead, former minister Nicolai Wammen represented the Social Democrats in the debates. Frederiksen started campaigning on 10 May.
Shortly before the election was called, Hard Line, a new far-right party which wants to ban Islam, became eligible to participate in the election. In the beginning of the campaign, much attention was given to the party, and especially their leader Rasmus Paludan. Both Løkke Rasmussen and Frederiksen said that they would not base a government on their potential seats, and other party leaders rejected to cooperate with the party, should they gain seats. While Venstre, Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives said that Hard Line should not be considered as part of the "blue bloc" when committee seats are distributed, the Danish People's Party were open to that possibility. On 8 May, when Paludan was guest in a TV-show, he called Mimi Jakobsen, a former politician, a "Nazi pig", shortly after she had said that Paludan's thoughts were "close to Nazi a mindset". Jakobsen threatened to sue, but ultimately decided not to. On 9 May media revealed that Paludan had been given a restraining order due to stalking, with more details following a week later. From 2010 to 2013 he had been stalking a 24-year old man he met while studying Latin, and in 2015 he was sentenced a fine for offending a police officer who handled the case. Paludan declined to comment, saying it regarded his private life.
On 13 May the Christian Democrats announced that their leader Stig Grenov would take a leave of absence due to stress, and that deputy chairman Isabella Arendt would become acting chairman. On the first evening of the campaign, Grenov had participated in a televised debate on DR1 and was supposed to participate in another debate at TV 2, but became ill and was replaced by Arendt. She was hailed by her performance in that debate, dubbed the "substitute from heaven".[f] Following the change in chairman, media speculated if the change was a tactical move, as Arendt was perceived to have a broader appeal than Grenov, and as a young woman could improve the party's image, but both Grenov and Arendt denied that tactics played a role in the decision. On 28 May, Grenov announced that he would step down as chairman at the party's October conference, and supported Arendt as new chairman.
Talks about an SV coalition government
On 16 May, Løkke Rasmussen published a book, in which he was open to a possible coalition government between Venstre and the Social Democrats (an SV-government). He said that he offered to be the "grown up", as a coalition across the political middle would be better than a government depending on the outermost political wings, but stressed that he and Venstre still campaigned for a centre-right government. The announcement was remarkable and regarded as a gamble; Løkke Rasmussen called it a "game changer". Prominent figures in Venstre, among those deputy chairman and Minister of Finance Kristian Jensen and Minister for Immigration Inger Støjberg, were deeply critical of the idea, while other supported the idea. Denmark had an SV-government between 1978 and 1979. That government, under Prime Minister Anker Jørgensen of the Social Democrats, was widely regarded as a fiasco.
The idea of an SV-government were immediately rejected by Frederiksen, who said that the political differences are too big, and reiterated that the Social Democrats wished to form a single-party government after the election. Among the parties in the sitting government, Søren Pape Poulsen, leader of the Conservative, said that they could not support an SV-government, and Anders Samuelsen, leader of the Liberal Alliance, said that he was worried about the turn that the election campaign had taken, and offered free membership of Liberal Alliance for all members of Venstre. On the other hand the Social Liberals and the Danish People's Party welcomed the announcement, while the Red-Green Alliance refused to support such a government. Pia Kjærsgaard, speaker of the Folketing and former leader of the Danish People's Party, called for a majority government between Venstre, the Social Democrats, and the Danish People's Party, as an SV-government would be unstable and could give the Social Liberals too much influence on the immigration policy.
On 4 June, the day before the election, Løkke Rasmussen gave up on his plans to form a centre-right government, saying it was no longer "realistic". He instead made it his first priority to create a government across the political middle, in order to keep the right- and left wing away from power. He did not state which parties should be in such a government. The announcement was met with stark opposition from his coalition partners. Pape Poulsen rejected taking part in such a government, questioning what the political foundation should be, while Samuelsen said that Løkke Rasmussen had "let down" the civic-liberal Denmark. Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the Danish People's Party, said that it was paramount to them to take part in such a cooperation, so the Social Liberals and The Alternative did not influence it. He demanded that Løkke Rasmussen choose between the Social Liberals and the Danish People's Party. Frederiksen once again rejected the idea, and said that "voters must be confused", as Løkke proposed three different governments during the election campaign. Morten Østergaard, leader of the Social Liberals, said that he would be supporting Frederiksen as Prime Minister, and that he could not support Løkke Rasmussen. The day prior, the Social Liberals' vice chairman, Martin Lidegaard, had said that a government with both Venstre, the Social Democrats and the Social Liberals would be the "dream scenario".
Overall the election was a win for the "red bloc" – parties that supported Mette Frederiksen, leader of the Social Democrats, as Prime Minister. In total, the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals, Socialist People's Party and the Red–Green Alliance won 91 seats, without the Alternative, which said they belonged to their own green bloc. Before a government can be formed, however, there needs to be negotiations on the formation of the government. Difficult negotiations are expected, as both the Social Liberals and the Socialist People's Party, who both doubled their seats, have made clear demands.
The Social Democrats defended their position as the largest party, and won an additional seat despite a slightly reduced voter share. They were closely followed by Venstre, who saw the largest gains in seats, picking up an extra nine. In the blue bloc, only Venstre and the Conservative People's Party saw gains, the latter doubling their seats. The Danish People's Party's vote share was reduced by 12.4 percentage points (pp), well over half of their support. Their leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl speculated that the bad result was due to an extraordinary good election in 2015, and that some voters felt they could "gain [their] policy elsewhere". The Liberal Alliance had a disastrous election, seeing their vote share reduce by over two-thirds and becoming the smallest party in the Folketing, only 0.3pp above the 2% election threshold. Their leader Anders Samuelsen was not reelected. He subsequently resigned as leader, and was succeeded by Alex Vanopslagh.
Of the new parties, only the New Right won seats, with Hard Line, the Christian Democrats and Klaus Riskær Pedersen failing to cross the national 2% threshold, although the Christian Democrats were within 200 votes of winning a direct seat in the western Jutland constituency, which would have given them representation as if the threshold were not there. On election night, Klaus Riskær Pedersen announced that he would dissolve his party.
In the Faroe Islands, Republic (which had finished first in the 2015 elections) dropped to fourth place and lost their seat. The Union Party replaced them as the first party while the Social Democratic Party finished in second place again, retaining their seat.
In Greenland, the result was a repeat of the 2015 elections, with Inuit Ataqatigiit and Siumut winning the two seats. Siumut regained parliamentary representation after their previous MP, Aleqa Hammond, was expelled from the party in 2016. Hammond later joined Nunatta Qitornai, which finished fourth and failed to win a seat.
|Social Democrats (A)||914,882||25.9||48||+1|
|Danish People's Party (O)||308,513||8.7||16||–21|
|Danish Social Liberal Party (B)||304,714||8.6||16||+8|
|Socialist People's Party (F)||272,304||7.7||14||+7|
|Red–Green Alliance (Ø)||245,100||6.9||13||–1|
|Conservative People's Party (C)||233,865||6.6||12||+6|
|The Alternative (Å)||104,278||3.0||5||–4|
|The New Right (D)||83,201||2.4||4||New|
|Liberal Alliance (I)||82,270||2.3||4||–9|
|Hard Line (P)||63,114||1.8||0||New|
|Christian Democrats (K)||60,944||1.7||0||0|
|Klaus Riskær Pedersen (E)||29,600||0.8||0||New|
|Social Democratic Party||6,630||25.5||1||0|
|Source: Statistics Denmark, Kringvarp Føroya, Qinersineq|
On 6 June 2019, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen tendered his resignation to Queen Margrethe II, allowing her to task the Social Democrats' Mette Frederiksen with the formation of a new government.
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