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Denmark - Election - 2015

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on 27 May 2015 called a general election for June 18. Her center-left Social Democrats were expected to face stiff competition from the center-right Liberals and the anti-immigrant Danish Peoples Party. A coalition of the Social Democrats and other parties were about 7-8 percentage points behind a bloc of the Liberals and other parties, according to polls.

Two extra-parliamentary parties contested the early elections in addition to all eight parliamentary parties. While parties aim for inclusive lists, generally they did not have specific internal policies to promote women or minority candidates and, in most cases, gave local branches autonomy in the candidate nomination process.

The campaign focused on economic issues, immigration, and the welfare state. In addition to traditional means of campaigning such as outdoor advertising, coverage by the media, and paid advertisements in the press, parties noted the significant role of online campaigning and in particular via social media. Many also noted the important and active role played in the campaign by interest groups such as trade unions, businesses or associations of employers. Legislation does not establish limits on campaign expenditure by political parties or any other entities, nor does it require political parties to report on campaign expenditure.

Because the campaign was so short at just 23 days it was an intense sprint filled with numerous panel debates with the leaders of all major parties as well as a series of one-on-one debates with the two candidates for prime minister, Thorning-Schmidt and opposition leader Lars Lkke Rasmussen.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's Social Democrats won the most votes of any single party at 26.3 percent, but her leftist bloc only garnered 85 seats in Danish parliament to the right-wing bloc's 90, and she was forced to concede defeat to Rasmussen. Lars Loekke Rasmussen was set to once again become prime minister of Denmark (he previously led the country from 2009 to 2011). Rasmussen's center-right Venstre party held only 34 out of 179 seats in parliament since June 2015.

The Danish general election on 18 June 2015 was also a clear victory for the populist Danish People's Party (DPP). The DPP wants to remove Denmark from the Schengen area of free movement inside Europe and massively reduce the number of refugees in Danish territory. Boosted by increasing worry over the cost of immigration to the country's comprehensive welfare state and a perceived destruction of "Danish values" the DPP jumped from the 12.3 percent of the vote it garnered in the last election in 2011 to 21.1 percent, making it the largest party in the victorious right-leaning bloc.

During the election campaign, the otherwise pro-EU parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives, suddenly announced that they had agreed with the Danish Peoples Party to have a Eurosceptic approach to the EU, openly backing British Prime Minister David Camerons call for reform. In the European Parliament, the Danish Peoples Party is part of Camerons political group, the European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR). The far-right party is aligned with other ECR members in their opposition to the EU becoming a social union exposed to what they call welfare tourism.

Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen announced on 27 November 2016 to broaden his minority government to a tripartite coalition. Rasmussen's ruling centre-right Liberal Party, or Venstre, with only 34 out of 179 seats in parliament, expanded to include supporting parties, the libertarian-leaning Liberal Alliance (LA) and the Conservative People's Party, to form a new government. "We now have a platform we agree on, so Venstre, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives can build a tripartite government tomorrow," Rasmussen told a press conference at his Marienborg residence outside Copenhagen. The three parties said they had agreed to cut tax on the wealthy and increase defense spending.

The largest support party, the anti-immigration DF, opted out of the talks to form a new government, saying it believes it can continue to have the most influence from the outside. His overture to LA and the Conservatives came after months of election rumors fuelled by ultimata and open bickering among the governments support parties in the so-called blue bloc'. The bloc's disagreements forced Rasmussen to drop his grand vision for a 2025 Plan. Recent polls showed that Denmark's center-left opposition would win if Rasmussen were to call a snap election, after support dropped for the anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DF) following a string of EU expenses scandals.

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