'Sympathy votes' re-elect Copenhagen politician who quit after scandal

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
'Sympathy votes' re-elect Copenhagen politician who quit after scandal
Anna Mee Allerslev announce her withdrawal from Copenhagen politics in October. Photo: Linda Johansen/Polfoto/Ritzau

Copenhagen councillor Anna Mee Allerslev, who announced her resignation from local politics last month after a scandal over her use of the city hall for her wedding reception, gained enough votes for re-election in Tuesday’s poll.


Allerslev received 1,123 personal votes, enough for her to retain her position as a representative for the Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party in the municipality.

The former head of the employment and integration committee announced her withdrawal from the city’s municipal politics, and the election race, after it emerged she held her wedding reception at the Rådhuset city hall without paying.

Allerslev later paid the 65,000 kroner (8,700 euros) rental costs.

Despite the withdrawal on October 25th -- which came too late for her name to be removed from ballot papers -- Allerslev received considerable backing in this week’s elections, due in no small part to ‘sympathy votes’, according to experts.

“Votes that voted for her are those that feel she was treated unfairly,” said Rune Stubager, professor and election researcher at Aarhus University’s Department of Political Science.

“We do not yet have studies of this election, but an obvious explanation is that this is a statement of sympathy. That this has been perceived as a smear campaign against her,” added Roger Buch, head of research at the Danish School of Media and Journalism.

Allerslev gained 8,512 votes in the 2013 elections.

Her significantly lower total of 1,123 votes in 2017 was nevertheless the fifth highest number of personal votes of all the Social Liberal candidates – effectively securing her re-election to the municipality.

The Social Liberals gained five representative posts as a result of the party's share of the overall vote in Copenhagen.

But Allerslev said that her decision to leave the Municipality was unchanged.

“Thank you to the 1,123 Copenhageners that voted for me. It has been a pleasure, an honour and a privilege to be elected,” she wrote on Facebook.

“Unfortunately, I have, as you know, decided not to accept election. My votes and mandate will therefore be passed on to the Social Liberals’ first deputy,” she added.

Christopher Røhl Andersen, who received the sixth-highest number of votes of the party’s candidates in Copenhagen, appears likely to take over from Allerslev, though the process is not straightforward, with the outgoing councillor obliged to justify her not taking her elected position.

Full-time job or family commitments, health concerns and moving out of the municipality are all acceptable reasons for leaving council representation.

READ MORE: The Local's coverage of the 2017 municipal and regional elections


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