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2022 DANISH ELECTION

The 13 (or is it 14?) political parties running in Denmark’s election

With 13 different parties currently in Danish parliament, it can be difficult to know which ones are right-wing, which are left-wing and what they are saying during the election campaign. Here's a summary to help you out.

The 13 (or is it 14?) political parties running in Denmark's election
The leaders of Denmark's many political parties take part in a debate at Esbjerg Gymnasium on October 13th. Photo: Frank Cilius/Ritzau Scanpix

RED ‘BLOC’

Social Democrats (Socialdemokratiet)

The current government is led by the Social Democrats, who are the largest left wing party (venstrefløjsparti) and part of the red bloc (rød bloc) of allied parties on the left wing.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said she will seek to form a government across the political centre, which would break with Denmark’s established ‘bloc politics’ system which sees the left and right-wing parties in opposing factions. Although this is unusual, the restrictive approach of the Social Democrats on immigration, for example, mean it can find itself in agreement with right-wing parties on some areas.

READ ALSO: ‘Bloc politics’: A guide to understanding parliamentary elections in Denmark

Frederiksen sees both the right-wing Liberals (Venstre) and Conservatives as potential centre coalition partners, along with the centre-left Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) and Socialist People’s (SF) parties.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen participates in the Social Democratic Party's election meeting before hanging election posters on Nytorv in Aalborg on Saturday 8 October 2022.
Current Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen participates in the Social Democratic Party’s election meeting before hanging election posters on Nytorv in Aalborg on 8th October 2022. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

In the election campaign, the Social Democrats have placed emphasis on their initiatives to help people through the current economic uncertainty. This includes lowering taxes for people in employment (beskæftigelsesfradraget) and setting a ceiling for rent increases.

The party also says it will to do more to help the environment and offer a green alternative to Russia’s gas supply.

Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti or SF)

This is left-wing party is more social democratic than socialist, despite its name. It typically campaigns on equal rights and opportunities.

SF proposals include increasing the financial aid during the winter energy crisis – especially giving extra help to families with children; students; old people and people receiving benefits. They also propose lowering the gas tax and stopping fare increases on public transport.

The party suggests raising this extra money from a special tax on higher-than-usual profits on shipping companies, including Mærsk, which expects a large profit as a result of higher freight prices.

Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre)
 
This centre-left party has emphasised the need to improve the lives of young people. They want more resources and better education for teachers in schools, nurseries and kindergartens, as well as more resources and staff to look after young people’s mental health with less focus on tests in schools. 
 
The party also wants to create 63,000 more jobs by 2030, which includes attracting international workers.
 
Leader of Radikale Venstre party Sofie Carsten Nielsen at a press conference on 5th October 2022.
Leader of Denmark’s Social Liberals, Radikale Venstre, Sofie Carsten Nielsen, (centre) at a press meeting on 5th October 2022. Photo: Martin Sylvest/ Ritzau Scanpix 2022

Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten)

This is a far-left party which supports high taxes, particularly on businesses, public ownership of infrastructure and supports a more open immigration policy than parties in the centre. 

The party has announced it wants ticket prices on public transport to be halved, to help people struggling financially due to inflation. The measure would be financed by postponing motorway projects, according to the proposal. The ticket reduction would be temporary and would be in place for a one-year period up to January 1st 2024.

Independent Greens (Frie Grønne) 

This party is led by Sikandar Siddique, a former member of the Alternative party, and was formed in 2020.

Alongside its environmental platform, the Independent Greens focus strongly on fighting racism, inequality and hate speech. They want to allow non-citizens to vote in parliamentary elections if they have lived in Denmark for four years. They also want to reduce animal production and limit the number of vehicles on the road.

The party hasn’t run in a general election before and looks unlikely to reach the threshold of 2 percent of the vote share needed to get into parliament. It gained 0.6 percent at the most recent opinion poll.

 
Leader of Independent Greens Party (Frie Grønne) Sikandar Siddique
Leader of the Independent Greens (Frie Grønne) Sikandar Siddique photographed at Blågårds Plads, Copenhagen, where he grew up. Photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix

 
The Alternative (Alternativet)

The environmentalist party has crept up to the two percent threshold needed to enter parliament for the first time since early 2020, after internal struggles saw several member leave following a poor performance in the 2019 election.

Alternative proposes reducing the working week to 30 hours which it says will provide more time to spend on nature, culture and with loved ones. The party also wants to help young people’s well-being in education and mental health care.

BLUE ‘BLOC’

Liberals (Venstre)

Despite the word Venstre meaning left, this is actually Denmark’s largest right wing party (højrefløjsparti) and nominal leader of the blue bloc (blå bloc) of allied parties on the right wing. Leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen is running as a candidate for Prime Minister.

 
Leader of Venstre, Denmark's Liberal Party, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen hangs up election posters in Aarhus on 8th October 2022.
Leader of Venstre, Denmark’s Liberal Party, Venstre, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen hangs up election posters in Aarhus on 8th October 2022. Jakob Ellemann-Jensen is running as candidate for Prime Minister.  Photo: Helle Arensbak/Ritzau Scanpix

 
The party wants to roll back the current plans to redistribute Denmark’s upper secondary school students to ensure a more “mixed” learning environment.  From the next school year, upper secondary school pupils may be assigned a different school based on their parents’ salaries; something the Liberals are strongly against.

Other proposals from the Liberals include shorter waiting times for fertility treatment and private care homes for the elderly in all municipalities, as an alternative option to state care homes.

The party also recently announced it wants to sell the state’s ownership stake in energy company Ørsted’s offshore wind business, to “enable massive climate investments without taxes being raised,” according to party leader Ellemann-Jensen.

Conservatives (Det Konservative Folkeparti)

This is Denmark’s second largest right-wing party and has looked close to overtaking the Liberals in the polls at various stages, but is currently a couple of points behind.  Leader Søren Pape Poulsen is running as candidate for Prime Minister.

Leader of the Conservative Party Søren Pape Poulsen hangs up election posters in Viborg, Saturday 8th October 2022.
Leader of the Conservative Party Søren Pape Poulsen hangs up election posters in Viborg, Saturday 8th October 2022. Søren Pape Poulsen is running as candidate for Prime Minister.  Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

 
The party wants stronger punishments for criminal acts such as violence and supports strict immigration rules.
 
The party wants to invest more in the sick and elderly. They want more private suppliers of care homes, to give elderly people more of a choice where they live. They would like to lower taxes such as company tax, inheritance tax and electricity tax and increase the tax deduction for people in employment.

Liberal Alliance (Liberal Alliance)

Libertarian party Liberal Alliance has a policy in favour of scrapping Denmark’s key anti-racism law, racismeparagraffen, which makes racist statements criminal. Critics have argued that scrapping the law could mean less protection from hate crimes — for example, racist graffiti could theoretically be punished as vandalism but not as hate speech. However, in line with its libertarian standpoint, Liberal Alliance says that the anti-racism law impinges on freedom of speech.

The party would also like the first 7,000 kroner people earn a month to be tax-free and the highest income tax to be 40 percent.

READ ALSO: Do Danish conservative parties support refusal of carers who wear the hijab?

Denmark Democrats (Danmarksdemokraterne)

The party’s leader is former immigration minister Inger Støjberg, who was was expelled from parliament last year after being convicted of violating migrants’ rights by separating asylum-seeking couples. She then formed the Denmark Democrats who are set for a strong first election showing, boosted by Støjberg’s popularity amongst right-wing voters and the addition of several former members of the Danish People’s Party to its line-up of candidates.

One of their manifestos is for foreigners to integrate into Danish society and culture. Støjberg says she wants to increase incentives for people with minority backgrounds to enter the labour market by reducing tax. They do not have a substantive climate policy at the current time, according to statements recently given by on of the party’s candidates to a journalist from Frihedsbrevet.

Inger Støjberg, leader of the Denmark Democrats, with an election poster on 8th October 2022.
Inger Støjberg, leader of the Denmark Democrats, holding an election poster on 8th October 2022. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

 
Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti or DF)

Anti-immigration party DF is just over the two percent threshold needed to enter parliament according to polls. That represents a remarkable decline in fortunes for the right wing group, which played a hugely influential role in Danish politics in the 2000s and 2010s and had a vote share of 21 percent as recently as 2015.

As part of its election campaign, DF states that it wants to Denmark to leave international human rights conventions that prevent the deportation of foreign nationals with criminal convictions under certain circumstances. Repatriation policy must be consistent so that “unsuitable foreigners” (utilpassede fremmede) as they have described, are sent home.

DF has also recently touted rules allowing elderly care patients to refuse home care staff who wear the Muslim head scarf, but appears to have little backing on this from the other right wing parties.

The party also wants to invest more in healthcare.

New Right (Nye Borgerlige)

This far-right party wants to leave the EU and wants stricter rules to be applied to foreign nationals in Denmark, including self-sufficiency requirements related to residency permits. It wants Denmark to deport all foreign nationals with criminal records.

The party also wants a new asylum system and has previously demanded a “zero asylum” policy in which Denmark does not grant protection to any refugees at all, but softened this stance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine (but not for people from Muslim countries).

Nye Borgerlige — the only Danish party without an official English name — also wants to close down job centres as they believe they are too expensive to run and inefficient.

UNALIGNED

Moderates (Moderaterne)

Headed by former prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who used to be leader of the Liberals. Rasmussen has not declared his new party in either bloc, saying he would prefer a coalition across the centre. The party hasn’t run in a general election before.

The Moderates want to lower taxes for those on lower incomes, they want to increase pay for nurses and reduce waiting times for patients and introduce a culture pass for young people to experience theatres, museums and music.

Rasmussen has also said he wants immigration rules to stay strict but to adopt a more sensible approach.

The election for the Danish Parliament (Folketing) will be held on Tuesday, 1st November 2022.
 
 
The 14th party: Christian Democrats
 
A 14th party, the Christian Democrats, should also be mentioned here. They are not currently represented in parliament and polls put them well under the 2 percent vote threshold for representation, meaning they are likely to remain outside of parliament after the election.
 
The Christian Democrats generally want policies that assist families and would vote with the conservative bloc of parties, were they in parliament.
 
The party primarily receives coverage in the Danish media in relation to its position on abortion rights. All Danish parties are pro-choice. The Christian Democrats say they do not want to change the law on abortion but want to bring the number of abortions down through means like counselling and alternative options.

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2022 DANISH ELECTION

Moderate party downplays importance of joining new Danish government 

After another round of negotiations with acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Moderate leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen says it’s beside the point if his party joins Frederiksen’s vision of a ‘broad, central’ government.

Moderate party downplays importance of joining new Danish government 

Rasmussen, who was Prime Minister before Frederiksen when leader of the Liberal (Venstre) party, led the newly-formed Moderates into parliament in their first election on a platform of installing a centrist government.

The Moderates have a relatively strong hand in the negotiations with their 16 seats from 9.3 percent of the vote share in the election, which took place one month ago.

“For us, it’s not a separate ambition to be part of such a government,” Rasmussen said outside of the prime minister’s official residence at Marienborg on Wednesday.

“Whether we are in or not is less important. But we want to put ourselves in a position where we can influence the content. That’s what matters,” he said. 

“It strikes me that Mette Frederiksen and I go a long way towards sharing the analysis of what’s good for Denmark,” he added.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s Liberal party want from government negotiations?

Rasmussen has previously backed a potential government involving the Social Democrats and Liberals along with the Moderates, calling it an “excellent starting point”.

But he said on Wednesday that his party could lend support to a central coalition without being part of the government itself.

The Moderates could be influential “by forming the parliamentary basis for a government which consists of parties from both sides of the infamous political centre,” he said.

Although the centrist party is heavily involved in talks led by Frederiksen, it does not have decisive seats which could give either the left or right wings an overall majority. The left wing ‘red bloc’ took a single-seat victory in the November 1st election, meaning a left-wing government could be formed without the support of the Moderates.

But Frederiksen has eschewed the option of a government reliant on the support of the parties furthest to the left, the Red Green Alliance and Alternative, maintaining her pre-election pledge to seek a coalition across the centre.

There is no majority which could put a ‘blue bloc’ or conservative government in place.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Danish election result

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