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2022 Danish election For Members

Denmark elects: The political news from the second week of the election campaign

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Denmark elects: The political news from the second week of the election campaign
"Meet Mette": A sign in Aalborg prior to the Danish prime minister's election campaign stop in the North Jutland city on October 13th. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

What has Denmark been talking about in the second week of the buildup to the November 1st parliamentary election? Here are the key talking points.

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Campaigning for the November 1st election has stepped up a gear in the last seven days. If you want to recap on the first week of the election campaign, click here.

The governing Social Democrats have weighed into the landbrugsdebat or “agricultural debate” by stating they want to invest a billion kroner to make Danish farming greener.

The investment will act as a “carrot”, incentivising the sector to introduce low-emissions farming, according to reports. It will act in tandem with a carbon dioxide tax for agriculture, the “stick” in the government’s plan. The spending is costed by expected future budget surpluses already earmarked for green transition spending.

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Agriculture interest organisation Landbrug & Fødevarer has criticised a potential CO2 tax, saying it could cost jobs at abattoirs and dairies.

The Social Democrats also want the aviation sector to be greener, saying before the election that they will introduce a green passenger tax of 13 kroner on all flights that depart from Danish airports, to help finance the target of all Danish domestic flights being electric by 2030.

An analysis by broadcaster DR revealed that green domestic flights would only cut Denmark’s aviation emissions by around two percent.

READ ALSO: Denmark talks up flight tax to make air travel greener

The left-wing Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) party 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.

Conservative parties (apart from the Danish People’s Party) last week made it clear they do not support discrimination against care sector workers who wear the Muslim head scarf, the hijab.

During a joint press briefing with leaders of the conservative or ‘blue bloc’ parties, the Liberal (Venstre) party leader, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, was asked whether his party supports allowing elderly care patients to refuse help from care staff if the carer wears the Muslim headscarf, hijab.

The far-right Danish People’s Party (DF) has previously proposed this and Ellemann-Jensen was pushed to say whether he agreed.

After an initial ‘yes’, The Liberal leader later moved to clarify, saying his position was “not about religion or anything else”.

“My concern is with the individual being able to freely choose their home care and that they can choose a different provider if they are not satisfied with the service. It is not about religion or anything else,” he stated.

Other conservative parties made similar clarifications.

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

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The health sector was on the agenda last week, with a number of parties presenting policies.

The Liberals party said they would aim spending at reducing waiting times for hospital appointments, if elected.

One billion kroner annually will be invested in the health system, the party said.

Regional authorities would be able to spend the funding on “retention of staff including local salary provision, loyalty bonuses and overtime bonuses”, according to the proposal.

It could also be spent on technical improvements that can help bring down waiting times.

The Moderate party, led by former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, proposes an extra 2,500 kroner per month for full-time health professionals in a temporary measure aimed at tackling personnel shortages.

The Moderates suggest setting aside 1.625 billion kroner to give nurses and other health professionals a monetary incentive to increase their hours.

Denmark’s asylum policies have also been up for discussion, although this was in response to a news report, rather than a planned part of any party’s election strategy.

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After media reports emerged that immigration authorities have ordered a pregnant refugee to return to Syria without her family, politicians including Løkke Rasmussen and Conservative party leader Søren Pape Poulsen criticised the situation. Both favour strict immigration rules in general. The government defended the asylum policies it has in place.

In a television debate between the party leaders on Sunday night, the two conservative candidates for prime minister, Ellemann-Jensen and Poulsen, and the incumbent PM Mette Frederksen disagreed on a few areas.

Those include state regulation of the ration between staff and children at preschool facilities (minimumsnormeringer in Danish), which Ellemann-Jensen backs but Poulsen rejects, saying this should be left up to municipalities.

On taxes, Poulsen wants to introduce tax cuts for lower earners first and higher earners later (by making changes to the top tax rate, topskatten).

Frederiksen had criticised Poulsen for wanting to cut the top tax rate, saying tax cuts will weaken Denmark’s social welfare system.

In the polls, Frederiksen has maintained a slender lead over her two conservative rivals and the ‘red bloc’ of allied parties on the left is just ahead of its ‘blue bloc’ opponents going into the final two weeks before the election.

But two new parties – particularly Rasmussen’s Moderates – look increasingly likely to have an important say in the outcome, polls suggest. You can read more about the latest polls in this article.

Did we miss any major election stories out? Is there anything specific related to the election you’d like us to focus on? Let me know.

READ ALSO: The Danish vocabulary you’ll need to follow the election

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