Denmark Heads for Period of Uncertainty After Snap Election

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Less important have been issues of foreign policy, including the war in Ukraine. The government has announced increases in military spending and veered from its traditional hesitation over joining European security and defense policy since the war began. That will stay the same regardless of the election result, experts say.

“Nothing outside Denmark’s borders has any influence on what Danes will vote on Tuesday,” said Jesper Claus Larsen, an election analyst for Electica, a research organization. “Local issues matter a lot to us,” he added.

Once pivotal, immigration has fallen down the agenda, partly because the governing Social Democrats had vowed to remain tough on migration, depriving right-leaning parties of a possible issue, said Professor Hansen. Denmark has some of the toughest anti-immigration laws in Europe.

In the Danish parliamentary democracy, no party on its own has won a clear majority of the 179 seats that make up Parliament, called the Folketing, in more than a century. As such, to pass legislation parties must form coalitions, with the leader of one of the stronger parties typically becoming prime minister.

The center-left Social Democrats, led by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, have been in power since 2019 with the backing of several other parties. Elections are held every four years, though the country’s prime minister can call early elections at any time.

Broadly speaking, the left-leaning parties are socially liberal and support higher welfare payments and higher taxes, though they have moved to the right on issues such as immigration, and they have been willing to negotiate with more conservative parties.

The right-leaning parties are less unified but generally support free-market ideals. They have worked with anti-immigration, populist parties to some extent, but they disavow the more extremist right-wing sections of the political spectrum.


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