SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

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

A new opinion poll has placed Denmark’s right and left wings in a dead heat, breaking a trend which has seen Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen maintain an advantage over her rivals and adding intrigue ahead of the next election.

Danish PM Frederiksen loses majority in 'neck and neck' new poll
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen visits a national Scouts camp on July 30th. A new opinion poll puts Denmark's left and right wings neck and neck as a general election looms. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The opinion poll, conducted by Epinion on behalf of broadcaster DR, gives the ‘red bloc’ of allied left-wing parties 47.9 percent of support, and 47.8 percent to the conservative ‘blue bloc’.

This includes a downturn in support for Frederiksen’s Social Democratic party, which has 24.2 percent support in the latest poll compared to 27.2 percent in the preceding poll from May this year. An overall majority for the red bloc has also vanished.

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 (Venstre) 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.

Each bloc contains several parties and therefore a range of political ideologies, however.

READ ALSO: A foreigner’s guide to understanding Danish politics in five minutes

The hair’s-breadth gap between the two blocs is interesting at the current time because 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 said they would give Frederiksen until October to call an election after the government and Frederiksen were severely criticised earlier this summer in an official inquiry into the mink scandal. The fallout from the inquiry is a major factor in the poor performance of the Social Democrats in the latest poll.

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.

Another interesting element of the new poll is its inclusion of two new parties.

The Danmarksdemokraterne (Denmark Democrats), a new right-wing party led by former immigration minister Inger Støjberg, has 10.8 percent support in the poll. The Moderates, led by former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, has 3.1 points.

In both cases, this would be enough to see both parties over the threshold for parliamentary representation, giving them representatives in the Folketing parliament.

Støjberg has confirmed her party would work within the blue bloc, but the more centrist Rasmussen has not done this. As such, the ex-PM could have a kingmaker role should a general election be as close as the poll, because his decision on whether to back Frederiksen or Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen for prime minister could tip the overall balance.

It is unclear whether the Moderates will decide on which to support before an election, or whether they would wait until after the election results come in.

Member comments

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

POLITICS

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

SHOW COMMENTS