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Danish politicians want expedited rule change to close loophole for new parties

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Danish politicians want expedited rule change to close loophole for new parties
Party leaders in a television debate following the June 5th general election. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix
12:53 CEST+02:00
Several parliamentary parties in Denmark have called for new rules regarding the so-called ‘citizens’ declarations’ to be implemented as soon as possible.

The declarations are required for newly-formed political parties to qualify for elections, but established parties have demanded a rule change after two groups, Stram Kurs and Klaus Riskær Pedersen, were able to take advantage of a loophole that made the nomination process far easier than it is intended to be, Berlingske reports.

The two parties – neither of which were voted into parliament – qualified to run in last week’s general election by automatically registering thousands of email addresses online, thereby receiving the declarations digitally.

That made the process significantly easier than the two declarations sent physically at least seven days apart, as has traditionally been the case, with the intention of electoral law to providing ‘thinking time’ for people who nominate parties, according to the report.

Although the two parties – one of which, Stram Kurs, created considerable controversy with its extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric -- did not end up being voted into parliament, their nomination entitles them to millions of kroner in state funding for political parties.

Danish People’s Party (DF) parliamentary group leader Peter Skaarup said the issue must be resolved as soon as possible.

“This is an urgent question. It is simply not right to reward people who cheat the system,” Skaarup said.

“We cannot have a legal situation which rewards people who don’t care about the law and can get onto voting cards and thereby millions in taxpayers’ money when they don’t get enough votes,” he added.

A suspension of the digital system for nomination was backed by two of Skaarup’s opposite numbers from other parties, Mette Abildgaard (Conservative) and Jacob Mark (Socialist People’s Party).

“I very much regret that we must find ourselves in this situation before finally wanting to do something. So I hope the political will is there to see whether something can be done here and now,” Abildgaard said.

Mark called the issue “reprehensible”.

“It’s completely reprehensible that the system, and therefore the people, can be cheated. I think we as politicians are obliged to close this hole as soon as possible,” he said.

“Otherwise, we risk a whole load of parties running on a false premise. As such, this is about the integrity of and trust in democracy,” he added.

The decision to implement digital citizens’ declarations was passed into law by parliament in 2013, and came into effect in 2016.

In March 2019, parliament agreed to develop a new procedure which prevented the loophole from being used. But that will not come into effect until the beginning of next year.

READ ALSO: Should Denmark make it harder for new parties to enter elections?

 
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