Elbæk: ‘We are the joker of the election’

Back when the party was founded in 2013, political analysts scoffed at The Alternative’s chances of ever making it into parliament, but recent polls suggest that they couldn’t have been more wrong. Party leader Uffe Elbæk may very well find himself in the kingmaker position in the aftermath of tomorrow’s election.

Elbæk: 'We are the joker of the election'
Party leader Uffe Elbæk. Will this man save the red bloc? Photo: Claus Bech/Scanpix

In what may have been one of the biggest surprises in this election, The Alternative has stormed ahead in the polls, with the most recent ones indicating that they will get between four to five percent of the vote when the Danes go to the polls tomorrow.

See also: The Local's party guide: The Alternative

Even after accounting for the statistical margin of error in these polls, this still puts them comfortably above the 2 percent needed to gain entry into parliament, and consequently, the party may very well have secured a red bloc win once the votes have been tallied tomorrow night.

See also: Ten exciting plots in the Danish election

The party has found that the vast majority of its supporters are people who voted for a red bloc party in the 2011 election, but also a lot of first-time voters.

“We attract some people who have just given up on the political system,” Elbæk explained at a press briefing attended by The Local earlier today, also pointing to recent studies that have shown Danes’ trust in politicians has plummeted to an all-time low.

“On all the trust surveys, the least trusted profession in Denmark is politicians, and then on top of the politicians are used car sellers, and then on top of those are journalists; it’s not great company to be in,” he joked.

One of the (many) things that sets The Alternative apart from other parties is that – with the exception of Elbæk himself – none of the its candidates are career politicians, which has likely made the party appealing among politically jaded voters who are fed up with the lack of diversity among Danish politicians.

Though it may have helped make the party more appealing to the electorate however, Elbæk said that the lack of political experience among his candidates means that The Alternative would not be willing to join a government coalition this term, indicating that he had learned from the Socialist People's Party's time in government.

“If we get in, and if we get in with the numbers that the polls say these days, then we will have a very inexperienced new block of MPs [from The Alternative]. The learning curve will be very high, so we should never be part of a government,” he explained.

On the other hand, he is optimistic about the amount of influence that he believes his party would wield under a Social Democrat government.

See also: The Local's party guide: Social Democrats

“We are the joker of the election, which also means that depending on who will win the bloc – right now it’s 50-50 – if it’s Helle Thorning Schmidt and the red bloc who will win, they can only win because of us.”

However, Elbæk stressed that he will not take advantage of his party’s kingmaker position to present ultimatums to Helle Thorning-Schmidt. He will also not rule out cooperation with her on areas where they appear to be fundamentally at odds, such as on asylum and integration.

 “We do not use the word demands, just wishes,” he told The Local. “I’m totally sure that if we get in and if the red bloc wins, that Helle Thorning will listen to our wishes.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.