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Denmark - Election - 2019

Danish voters elect 179 deputies of the Folketing (parliament) for a four-year term. The unicameral parliament is composed of 175 deputies elected from Denmark, and 2 each from the Faroe Islands and Greenland; constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark. This report focuses on the election of the deputies from 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. Multi-member constituencies return 135 of the 175 seats in the parliament, while the remaining 40 compensatory seats are distributed among regions and, subsequently among constituencies and nomination districts through a two-tier mandate allocation system.

The elections are regulated by the Constitution and the Parliamentary Election Act (election law). A limited number of amendments have been introduced to the election law since the last parliamentary elections, specifically to further facilitate advance voting and enable voters with disabilities to change their polling stations.

All citizens over 18 years of age who permanently reside in Denmark, or are considered as such despite living abroad, are eligible to vote in the elections. Voter registration is passive and voter registers are extracted from the national civil registration system.

Candidates are nominated by political parties or can stand as independents. All political parties that gained representation in the previous parliament are eligible to nominate candidates in all nomination districts. Other parties can participate in the elections if they submit at least 20,260 declarations of support from eligible voters. 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.

Danish policy formation is likely to remain constrained by parliamentary fragmentation, even after the elections in June 2019. The influence of the Danish People's Party implies that the increasingly populist leanings in government policy over the past few years will continue no matter whether the elections result in the center-right being re-elected or the centre-left winning power.

Polls in 2018 suggested that the current center-right ruling coalition led by Venstre is likely to lose ground in the next election compared with its current position in which it already holds only a minority in parliament, governing with the support of the populist, anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DPP). Meanwhile, the opposition centre-left Social Democrats appear to be gaining in popularity at the expense of the ruling parties, and are likely to form the next government. But they were likely to be limited in enacting policy as it will need the support of other parties with wide-ranging policy priorities.

On 05 June 2019 Social Democrats took the most seats in an election centered on issues of immigration, climate and welfare. Left-leaning parties did well, while support for the populist Danish People's Party plummeted. Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen of the Liberal Party conceded defeat to the center-left party led by Mette Frederiksen, which appeared to have gained support thanks to its adoption of a tougher stance on immigration.

The Social Democrats won 26.2%. It and other left-wing parties that form the "red bloc" in the Danish parliament are set to win a total of 91 out of 179 seats. The center-right Liberal Party garnered 23.4%, up almost 4 percentage points since 2015. But its center-right bloc, which is currently in power, is set to get only 75 parliamentary seats. The right-wing populist Danish People's Party won 8.8%, down from 21.1% in 2015. Six other parties made it into parliament. Voter turnout was typically high, at about 85%.

Frederiksen, 41, said that the Social Democrats would try to run a minority government. Such governments are common in Denmark, where ruling parties often seek support from different parties to pass laws on a case-by-case basis. Frederiksen said she would seek support from right-wing parties on immigration, while reaching out to the left on issues such as welfare and climate change.

The results show that many supporters of Danish People's Party, which often voted with the center-right Liberals on immigration, shifted to the Social Democrats after they adopted tougher immigration policies. Danish People's Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl admitted the results were "really, really bad," but said he would continue to lead the party. Parties focused on an anti-immigration platform had mixed results. The anti-Muslim Hard Line failed to make it over the 2% threshold to enter parliament, while The New Right won 2.3% to enter parliament for the first time.

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