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Denmark - General Elections

The Liberal Coalition led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen wins for a third time running in the Danish General Elections.

The Liberal Coalition led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen wins for a third time running in the Danish General Elections.

14/11/2007 - Results

The parties in the outgoing government coalition and its parliamentary ally (Liberal Party V, the majority party led by outgoing Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Conservative Party KF, and the Danish People's Party, DF) emerged the winners of the general elections that took place in Denmark on 13th November. Together they won 50.5% of the vote and 89 seats, in comparison with 45.8% and 81 seats for the four leftwing opposition parties (Social Democrat Party SD, the Free Liberal Party RV, Unity EL, and the Socialist People's Party SF). New Alliance (Y), a party founded and led by Naser Khader won 2.8% of the vote (5 seats).

Outgoing Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen therefore won his wager and achieved an historic victory since this is the third one running for the Liberal Party and an all time first in Danish history. Although the party lost six seats in comparison with the elections on 8th February 2005 and failed to win the absolute majority with its partners it is still the kingdom's leading political force – it is also highly likely that it will be able to count on the support of New Alliance. In addition to this its conservative and nationalist allies held their ground maintaining an identical number of representatives (- 1 seat for the far right party). On the left however three parties suffered setbacks; slight ones for the Social Democratic Party, which achieved its lowest score since 1906 and for Unity (-2 seats each); the greatest loss was suffered by the Free Liberal Party (-8 seats). This loss was to the benefit of the Socialist People's Party which won 12 additional seats to become the fourth leading political force. "The Danes want a party which can say "no" to inequality and "yes" to a new foreign policy and which can guide them towards a real environmental policy," said its leader Villy Sovndal.
Turn out was slightly higher than in the last general elections on 8th February 2005, rising to 86.53% (+2.1 points).

"The government will continue to lead the country," declared Anders Fogh Rasmussen when the results were announced. Although the last polls forecast the left and right emerging equal, the outgoing Prime Minister succeeded in convincing the Danes "that again they should put their confidence in a coalition that had ensured both growth and stability for the last six years." "We put forward five fundamental reforms when the elections were announced. I intend to have Parliament approve them," he stressed. Although he is to continue his parliamentary alliance with the Danish People's Party he did however appeal to New Alliance. "We want to involve the parties who appointed me Prime Minister to create the foundations of a government and to set out a political programme so that the liberal-conservative government can continue its work," indicated Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The deputy chair of the Danish People's Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl did however protest against any such possibility. "New Alliance will be the cause of instability in the coalition" adding, "we have taken note of the electorate's verdict. But it will not be easy and we shall not abandon our priorities." On the same evening Leif Mikkelsen asked for preliminary negotiations in the formation of the government.

"I promised that I would beat Anders Fogh Rasmussen. But this did not happen," declared Helle-Thorning Schmidt. "I am confident that our campaign laid down foundations and that many Danes expressed their confidence in us. But this was not enough. We would have liked to have greater support from the electorate. The Danes need more time if they are to provide us with responsibilities," she added.
During the entire electoral campaign the social-democrat leader tried to convince the Danes that it was impossible to defend the Welfare State and to maintain the present level of social protection by reducing taxation. "The choice is between an improved Welfare State to which the Danes are attached, or more spending power promised by the right in the form of fiscal reductions," she said the day before the election.

Finally New Alliance did not achieve the result predicted for it in the polls. "Our aim is to break from block politics and to reduce the exaggerated influence of the Danish People's Party" repeated Naser Khader just a few days before the election. The far right party, which was the originator of one of the most restrictive immigration policies in Europe, did not suffer from the rise of the new party and maintained its scores in the ballot boxes. The electoral campaign was dominated by the theme of immigration, notably that of refugees and asylum seekers, whose number has dropped by 80% since Anders Fogh Rasmussen came to power in November 2001, and by the issue of improving the Welfare State. The government forces said they wanted to reduce taxes and promised to continue with their strict policy with regard to immigration; on the left parties requested a stronger Welfare State and a more moderate policy towards immigrants. For its part New Alliance favours greater flexibility in the immigration rules and a reduction in income tax.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is 55 and comes from Ginnerup in Jutland, entered the Folketing, the only house in Parliament in 1978. He was Tax Minister from 1987 to 1990 in the government led by Poul Schlüter (KF), then Economy and Tax Minister (1990-1992). Elected leader of the Liberal Party he won the general elections on 20th November 2001 and entered office as Prime Minister. He maintained his post after emerging victorious from the general elections on 8th February 2005. His success on 13th November is therefore historic, with the Liberal Party winning through for the third time running.

Negotiations to form the future government will however be difficult. How will it be possible for two parties, New Alliance and the Danish People's Party, which are so totally opposite to live side by side? Many political observers doubt that this is really possible. "If the government depends on a fourth party, i.e. New Alliance, to complete its majority the chances of conflict will rise and the government will lose a great amount of its stability," believes Peter Kurrrild-Klitgaard, professor at the University of Copenhagen.

General Election Results – 13th November 2007 in Denmark

Turn out: 86.53%
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The authors
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
Fondation Robert Schuman
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