Dhe center-left coalition around Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s Social Democrats received what is expected to be a minimal majority in the last-minute Danish elections. After counting all the votes cast in the country, the left-wing camp still managed to get the majority of 87 seats on Wednesday night. Extrapolations by the TV2 broadcaster had already predicted this number, which is important for Frederiksen, late in the evening. After counting the last votes, the number also jumped from 86 to 87 mandates for the DR broadcaster. At the Social Democrats’ election party, there were cheers and tears of happiness.
90 of the 179 seats are necessary for a majority in the Danish parliament in Copenhagen. 175 of these mandates are awarded in Denmark, two each in Greenland and on the Faroe Islands, both of which are officially part of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Faroese mandates were already split between the two blocs on Monday, with Greenland’s result expected around 5am on Wednesday morning. In the last six elections, both Greenlandic mandates went to the red bloc – and that is expected again this time. The left camp should end up with exactly 90 mandates.
During the election campaign, Frederiksen emphasized several times that he was aiming for broad government cooperation across the political center. A red majority should significantly improve its negotiating position in this regard: if the moderates of ex-Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who stand between the blocs, or parties of the blue center-right block do not respond to their demands, they could exert great pressure with the prospect of back to their red block instead. He already supports Frederiksen’s previous social-democratic minority government in parliament.
Elections after ultimatum
The 44-year-old Frederiksen called the new elections in early October after one of the most important supporters of her social-democratic minority government had given her an ultimatum: she and her government had been criticized in an investigative report in the summer for the decision, in November 2020 all a good 15 million minks to have them killed in the country because people feared corona mutations at the time.
However, the government had no legal basis for the decision. After the report was published, the social-liberal Radikale Venstre party demanded that Frederiksen call new elections, otherwise a motion of no confidence would be tabled in parliament – they actually had until June next year to hold the elections. In any case, there had always been criticism of a concentration of power in the Social Democratic government headquarters – Radikale Venstre announced after the new elections were called that she wanted to support Frederiksen again as Prime Minister – but no longer in a one-party government.
Inflation and pipeline blast unsettle Danes
Although minority governments often rule in Copenhagen, they are formed from one or more parties from the bloc that holds the majority of seats in the Folketing. When the new elections were called, however, Frederiksen advocated breaking with this old pattern and forming a broad center government. She cited the crises of the time and the great uncertainty that called for a new form of government as justification. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is also of great concern to the Danes, inflation has skyrocketed and the explosions of the Nord Stream pipelines near the Danish island of Bornholm have shaken the country. In addition, the climate crisis was important to the Danes during the election campaign, as were pensions and the problems in health care.
The major parties in the blue bloc quickly rejected Frederiksen’s advances, only Rasmussen did not want to commit himself. When he was still in a hopeless position in the 2019 election campaign and wanted to defend his office as prime minister against Frederiksen, who was favored at the time, he once proposed a centrist government. That had been rejected by the Social Democrats at the time. Now Rasmussen’s moderates are likely to be heavily courted by both blocks in the coming days. During the election campaign, the party also campaigned for a broad center government, without saying who should lead it.
A party that had supported Rasmussen’s government from 2015 to 2019 only made it with difficulty over the two percent hurdle in parliament on Tuesday: the right-wing populist People’s Party came to 2.8 percent. For more than two decades, she had a significant influence on the tightening of asylum and integration policies in Denmark, which is largely the consensus in Copenhagen today.
In 2015 they were still the second strongest force in the country with a good 21 percent. The new right-wing populist party, the Denmark Democrats, received just under seven percent of the vote on Tuesday, just over five months after it was founded.