Has Denmark’s green Alternative party reached the end of the road?

Recent poll results suggest the Alternative party, which entered the Danish parliament on a green political platform in 2015, may be running out of time to ensure its ongoing survival.

Has Denmark’s green Alternative party reached the end of the road?
Alternative party political leader Franciska Rosenkilde and MP Torsten Gejl at a briefing following the group's 2021 summer congress. Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

The Alternative scored a meagre 0.5 points in a recent opinion poll conducted by Voxmeter on behalf of news agency Ritzau. To qualify for parliamentary representation, a party must reach a threshold of 2 percent in the general election.

Denmark last voted in a general election in 2019, meaning the next vote will take place in 2023.

“(Alternative) has been nowhere near the threshold for a very long time and their chances (of retaining seats in parliament) must be equal to zero,” said Erik Holstein, political commentator with media Altinget.

The party currently holds one of parliament’s 179 seats. Its leader, Franciska Rosenkilde, is not a member of parliament. Rosenkilde is head of the culture and leisure section at the Copenhagen Municipality, an elected post.

Co-founders Uffe Elbæk and Josephine Fock other prominent names including Copenhagen politician Sikandar Siddique have all left the party since the last general election.

“The party doesn’t really have any names that can mark out the agenda they broke through with,” Holstein said.

“And the green agenda has unfortunately now been taken on by so many other parties that there’s no need to vote for Alternative for (an environmental) reason,” he continued.

Even though the party’s days could be numbered, it has already left a mark on Danish politics by help setting a green agenda, according to Holstein.

“They were the first with the 70 percent target (for emissions reduction),” he said.

“It’s a big political win for them that this has become mainstream at Christiansborg (parliament),” he added.

READ ALSO: Five reasons why Denmark is no frontrunner in the battle against climate change

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How likely is Denmark to have a general election ahead of schedule?

Analysts in Denmark say Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen could announce a general election as early as next week, despite flagging poll numbers.

How likely is Denmark to have a general election ahead of schedule?

Speculation suggests that Frederiksen will announce an election, which could take place by October but possibly earlier, when the Social Democrats convene next week for their summer group meeting. 

Legally, the next general election can take place as late as June 4th, 2023. 

But despite worsening polls, a general election in Denmark this autumn now appears likely due to increasing pressure on Frederiksen from other parties and heightened criticism of her government.

“It will not be possible to make any new, broad political agreements on this side of a general election. There’s no willingness to compromise between parties. So Danish politics is already frozen by the election campaign, even though it hasn’t been formally announced yet,” TV2’s political editor Hans Redder said last week.

Redder said it was “relatively probable” that Frederiksen will announce an election in August.

“The political season begins next week. Several parties will have their summer group meetings and start calling press briefings. So it’s just a question of which date Mette Frederiksen decides on,” Redder said.

The Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party, which is an ally of the government, has demanded Frederiksen call a general election by October 4th.

Although a new general election is not due until next year, the Social Liberals earlier in the summer said they wanted an election by October after the government and Frederiksen were severely criticised earlier this summer in an official inquiry into the mink scandal.

The Social Liberals have the ability to bring down the government by withdrawing their support for Frederiksen and bringing an no confidence motion in parliament, although it’s not certain they would actually do this.

In addition to the mink scandal, Frederiksen’s government has been damaged by a high-profile case centred around leaks at intelligence service Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE), as well as broader criticism of her leadership style.

“(Frederiksen) really needs some wins and we have not heard much about what their election platform will be. That will come when the 2030 (political) plan is presented,” political analyst Hans Engell told news wire Ritzau.

“Bad opinion polls are not conducive to an early general election and it doesn’t seem as though there is complete clarity over their 2030 plan. They are probably keeping all their options open,” he said.

Talk of an early election comes despite poll numbers looking as bad for the government as they have at any time since they came to power in 2019.

A new opinion poll by Voxmeter for news agency Ritzau on Monday gave the Social Democrats their worst showing since 2015. 

The ‘blue bloc’ — anchored by the Liberal party (Venstre) and the Conservative party — command 50 percent of the vote according to the latest poll.

Meanwhile, the government’s ‘red bloc’ holds just 47.5 percent. 

The demands that Frederiksen hold elections by October at the latest come from the Social Liberals, also of the red bloc.

The ‘bloc’ classification commonly referred to in Danish politics broadly denotes whether parties are right or left of centre.

‘Blue bloc’ parties will usually work together in parliament and back the leader of the Liberal party to be prime minister if they can command a majority after a general election. The ‘red bloc’ will usually support the Social Democratic leader to become PM, as is currently the case with Frederiksen.

READ ALSO: Danish PM Frederiksen loses majority in ‘neck and neck’ new poll