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Denmark - Election - 2011

In the 15 September 2011 elections, Danish voters were to elect 179 deputies of the Folketing (the parliament). The Folketing is a unicameral body composed of 175 deputies elected from Denmark and 2 each from the Faroe Islands and Greenland, the constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark.

For elections, Denmark is divided into 3 regions that are subdivided into 10 multi-member constituencies which are further divided into 92 nomination districts. The multi-member constituencies return 135 of the 175 seats in the Folketing while the remaining 40 compensatory seats are distributed between regions and, subsequently, between constituencies and nomination districts through a two-tier mandate allocation system. Legislation does not establish limits on campaign expenditure by political parties or any other entities, nor does it require political parties to report the expenses incurred in relation to their campaign.

Following the 13 November 2007 parliamentary elections, 8 parties gained representation among the 175 deputies elected to the Folketing from Denmark. The Liberal Party (Venstre) gained the largest number of seats (46), followed by the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterne; 45), the Danish Peoples Party (Dansk Folkeparti; 25), the Socialist Peoples Party (SocialistiskFolkeparti; 23), the Conservative Peoples Party (DetKonservativeFolkeparti; 18), the Social Liberal Party (DetRadikaleVenstre; 9), the New Alliance (Ny Alliance; 5), and the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten; 4). Subsequently, the New Alliance changed its name to the Liberal Alliance (Liberal Alliance). Following the elections, the Liberal Party formed a minority coalition government with the Conservative Peoples Party.

Many interlocutors highlighted the importance of the elections and expected the campaign to focus on economic issues. They expected the campaign to be primarily conducted via outdoor and print advertising, as well as TV coverage in the news, current affairs programmes, debates and paid spots. A number of interlocutors pointed out that campaigns are run not only by political parties and candidates but also by such interest groups as trade unions, businesses or associations of employers.

Denmark's left-leaning opposition won a narrow victory in parliamentary elections September 15, 2011, after a decade of center-right rule. Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen conceded defeat. He said there was no longer enough support for the government in Denmark's 179-member parliament, and that he would hand in his resignation to the queen. Social Democratic leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt was set to become Denmark's first woman prime minister. The 44-year-old Ms. Thorning-Schmidt is the daughter-in-law of British Labor politician Neil Kinnock.

The opposition and the coalition shared similar views on the economy, foreign policy, welfare and immigration but differ in their outlook on taxes. Ms. Thorning-Schmidt wanted to avoid some of the country's planned austerity measures by raising taxes on wealthy Danes and banks. Mr. Loekke Rasmussen had ruled out any tax increases.

Following the general election, Social Democratic Party leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt formed a three-party minority coalition government with the centrist Social Liberal Party and the leftist Socialist People's Party. The coalition held 77 of the seats in the Folketing (SDP 44, SLP 17, and SPP 16) and enjoyed parliamentary support from the 12 seats held by the far-left Unity List (aka Red-Green Alliance). The opposition Liberal Party held 47 seats, the Danish People's Party 22 seats, the Liberal Alliance 9 seats, and the Conservative People's Party 8 seats.

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