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ELECTIONS

Did far-right Danish party break rules to qualify for election?

The Danish interior ministry could stop extremist far-right party Stram Kurs from gathering election nominations amid suspicions of foul play.

Did far-right Danish party break rules to qualify for election?
Stram Kurs placards at the Danish parliament on the evening of the 2019 general election. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The Ministry of Social Affairs and The Interior says that Stram Kurs (‘Hard Line’ in English) may have broken rules in order to secure the required number of citizens’ nominations to participate in this year’s general election.

Electoral law in Denmark requires 20,000 such nominations or declarations – termed vælgererklæringer in Danish – for a party to be included on ballot papers.

The ministry is to intervene in Stram Kurs' further collection gathering of nominations due to a suspected breach of the law, DR reports.

In doing so, the Ministry will apply for the first time a new law that was passed shortly after the election to prevent circumvention of the rules relating to electoral nominations.

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

“At the last election, several parties openly circumvented the rules on voter declarations, but at that time it was not possible to intervene,” Minister of Social Affairs and the Interior Astrid Krag said in a statement.

“We have worked to ensure loopholes in the system are closed and we are now using the new resources which are supported by all of parliament,” Krag added.

According to the law, an electoral board must decide whether to suspend Stram Kurs' collection of citizens’ nominations.

The ministry has instructed the board to make this assessment.

According to the ministry, Stram Kurs used both e-mail addresses that the party was not authorized to use and also reused e-mail addresses within the declaration system.

In the June general election, Stram Kurs were widely tipped to enter parliament but eventually fell short of the 2 percent vote threshold needed for parliamentary representation.

The party is led by Rasmus Paludan, an Islamophobic agitator who has a criminal conviction for inciting racial hatred. Judicial authorities have denied Paludan’s wish to appeal the conviction at the High Court.

READ ALSO: Why Danish free speech is not a free pass for Quran burning

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ELECTIONS

Britain to allow ALL citizens living abroad the right to vote

The British government said on Friday it will scrap the 15-year rule that had barred many British voters living abroad from casting a ballot in general elections back home.

Britain to allow ALL citizens living abroad the right to vote
Photo: AFP

The UK government said on Friday that the rule that has barred British nationals from voting if they have lived abroad for over 15 years, will be scrapped in time for the 2020 election.

The government published its intention to ditch the unpopular law, which Britons living abroad have long fought against, by publishing a policy statement titled “Democracy that works for everyone”.

“We believe that overseas electors contribute to British society and should be given that democratic right to vote,” the constitution minister Chris Skidmore said.

“We intend to give those overseas electors the chance to register quickly and securely so they will be able to register to vote in time of the 2020 election.”

 

Writing in The Telegraph newspaper Skidmore said: “Being British is about so much more than simply being resident in the UK.

“It doesn’t matter where they live, British citizens are still a part of British society, retaining strong cultural and social ties with their families at home and helping to build businesses abroad,” writes Skidmore.

“The decisions that are made on British shores impact our citizens around the world and indeed many plan to return to live here in the future,” he added.

The Conservative government had pledged to scrap the rule as a pre-election promise but many long-term expats living in the EU were left angered when it became clear the government would not push through the change before the crucial referendum.

Indeed the sentiment among many British nationals abroad on Friday was that the announcement had come too late.

“I would have been delighted. Just a few months ago I would have been ecstatic, but now, faced with the impending loss of my EU citizenship and associated rights, the triumph has lost some savour,” said The Local reader Yvonne Flavin.

Nevertheless those British citizens who had long campaigned against the injustice were happy at Friday’s announcement.

“This is great news,” says France-based Brian Cave. “We are nearly there. We shall vote at the next General Election. All those who have taken part in this long campaign will know that it was worth it and as we kept saying: ‘we will win because we are right’.

“Winston Churchill would have said: ‘This is not the end, but it could be the beginning of the end,'” said Cave.

The government will now draw up a bill which must be given the green light by parliament, but all being well all Britons abroad should be able to cast a vote in 2020. 

The next question is will they give Brits abroad our own MPs?

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