The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkparti, DF) will be forming the next Danish government after it won a remarkable victory in yesterday’s general election.
Although it came second overall to the left-wing Social Democrat (SD) party, the Danish electoral system means the government is led by the largest coalition, which in this case is the ‘blue bloc’, consisting of DF, centre-right Venestre, and three other small right-wing parties. Venestre was formerly the largest right wing party with 26.2 per cent of the popular vote in 2011, but has slipped to 19.5 per cent, meaning DF with 21.2 per cent will now be calling the shots.
Venestre leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen is still the titular head of the blue bloc, and may be prime minister again despite having less MPs than DF leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl. It is widely anticipated that DF will claim the Prime Ministership for themselves, a great leap from the last blue government where they had no cabinet positions at all. Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt has already stepped down from the leadership of the Social Democrats and the red bloc after the defeat. She is married to British Labour parliamentarian Stephen Kinnock, son of the late hard-left Labour leader Neil Kinnock.
This election has been keenly followed in the United Kingdom by some as its outcome is likely to have a significant impact on the future of Europe, and the UK’s direction of travel. As well as being part of an apparent shift to the right across the continent, with Nordic states Denmark, Finland, and Norway all now having right-wing governments, the change will also strengthen Britain’s negotiating hand for treaty change at the European parliament.
The Danish People’s party are outspoken Euro-sceptics and will certainly support Britain’s attempts to reform the continental power-bloc, if not even stand behind the desire of the British people to leave next year. As well as Euro-scepticism, the DF’s main policies include strengthening borders, rolling back the state, and supporting the Monarchy and Church.
Media commentators had noted in the run up to the closely fought election that the two main issues were immigration and benefits – with polls too close to call either way. With one fifth of voters unsure of who to vote for as they headed to the ballot box, it is thought that concern over immigration ended up weighing more heavily on the minds of electors – and thus swinging the election for the right wing blue bloc, and DF in particular.
DF and Venestre will now enter in talks to thrash out a new coalition agreement, with a government expected to be formed next week.