Is Denmark a socialist country

Denmark: dramatic shift to the right

June 19, 2015 Joachim Bischoff / Bernhard Müller

Opposition leader Lars Lökke Rasmussen's center-right prevailed in the Danish parliamentary elections. After counting all votes, his alliance came to 90 seats in the 179-seat parliament and thus a majority. The Social Democratic Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt admitted her defeat and announced her resignation as head of government and chairman of the Social Democrats that night. Your party was able to assert itself as the strongest force, but the junior partners of the governing coalition lost massive support.

The turnout At 85.8%, it was lower than in 2011, when 87.7% of the citizens eligible to vote cast their votes, so it is still on a scale that most other European countries can only dream of.

What is remarkable about the result of these elections is above all that the right-wing populist Danish People's Party has risen to become the second strongest political party and has even become the strongest political force in the bourgeois camp. It received 21.1% of the votes, which corresponds to a plus of 8.8% or 22 mandates and thus made a decisive contribution to the fact that the »blue block« was ahead with 52.3%. The Liberal Party (Venstre) of Lökke Rasmussen, on the other hand, lost 7.2% or 13 seats with a share of the vote of 19.5% and had to line up behind the right-wing populists. It achieved its worst election result in 25 years.

Denmark: Folk election 20151)

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1) Nationwide result excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland

Also within
There have been significant shifts in the center-left block. The Social Democrats were able to slightly improve their worst post-war election result in 2011 from 24.8% to 26.3%. The red-green standard list also achieved an increase of 1.1% with 7.8%. In contrast, the former coalition partners of the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals (Radical Vernstre; 4.6% = - 4.8%) and the Socialist People's Party (which left the government in 2014; 4.2% = - 5.0%) suffered dramatic losses accept. The gains of the Social Democrats, the unified list and the party Die Alternative, which emerged from a split of the social liberals, could only partially offset these losses. With 175 seats (excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the “red bloc” has clearly landed on the opposition bench.

In the election campaign In addition to the issues of economy and social spending, issues such as immigration and criticism of the EU that were brought to the fore by right-wing populists played a major role. The Liberal Party and the Social Democrats jumped on the bandwagon controlled by the right-wing populists and campaigned for a more restrictive asylum policy, competing over who could keep more refugees out of Denmark. For many Danes, they apparently confirmed two things: That people who seek help in Denmark are harming the country. And that the Danish People's Party has apparently always been right on this point. A devastating message that is sure to produce many losers.

The Danish People's Party called for the reintroduction of border controls to neighboring countries such as Germany. However, this upsets many EU states, who see the freedom of movement guaranteed by the Schengen Agreement in jeopardy.

Before the election The opposition bloc also showed sympathy for British Prime Minister David Cameron's efforts to reform the EU. After the change of power, speculation arose that Denmark, too, might seek looser ties to the European Union.

New head of government will in all probability be the loser in the election, Lökke Rasmussen, because he knows the backing of most opposition parties behind him. "Four years ago we gave the keys to the Prime Minister's office," he told his supporters in Copenhagen. "I said back then that it was only on loan." Lökke Rasmussen held the office from 2009 to 2011. But regardless of whether the right-wing populists of the Danish People's Party participate in the government after their electoral success or only support it, it is clear that they will have a decisive influence on the politics of the bourgeois camp and will put a xenophobic and Europe-critical stamp on it. This is also because the majority of the "blue block" after factoring in the results from the Faroe Islands and Greenland is extremely scarce.

With the outstanding election result of the Danish People's Party, the triumphant advance of right-wing populism and with it the shift of the political coordinate cross to the right in Europe continues.1 After the successes in the European elections and numerous state and regional elections (including Sweden, Thuringia, Brandenburg), these parties with their nationalist and xenophobic agenda were able to significantly expand their political influence in many countries this year. So in the regional elections in France, the national elections in Finland (where they are now part of the government), Great Britain and Poland. In two state elections in Austria at the end of May, the FPÖ posted high profits with its xenophobic campaign. In Styria, the party has almost tripled to a good 27%. The FPÖ also grew in Burgenland, by six percentage points to 15%. According to voter surveys, the success of the FPÖ is to a large extent due to its foreigner policy. Accordingly, the FPÖ voters discussed immigration the most by far.

While in Europe fierce arguments about Greece's remaining in the euro zone, nationalist, xenophobic mentalities and parties are spreading, threatening to disintegrate Europe from within.


1 See Joachim Bischoff / Elisabeth Gauthier / Bernhard Müller, Europe's rights - the concept of »modernized« right-wing populism, Hamburg 2015