Danish Election: No change

This is the cover of tomorrow’s copy of the Danish newspaper Information presenting the results of Tuesday’s national election in Denmark. The man in the picture(s) is Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and depending on how you spin (get it, get it?) the cover, it presents him as either the winner or the loser of yesterday’s election.

Picture of Information's front page showing Anders Fogh Rasmussen as both the winner and the loser of the electionThe election moved a lot of votes and mandates between the 8 parties currently in parliament and the 1 very new party “New Alliance” (which made it into parliament, but with much less force than was originally expected). But the overall picture remains largely the same: The current government (consisting of two moderate right wing parties) maintains its parliamentary majority with the support of a third, very right wing party.

If anyone is curious, here’s a quick-and-dirty translation of the two front page stories:

The Winner (“vinderen”):

The 2007 election was another triumph for Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen who will now remain in office for another term as Prime Minister. Fogh has thus out maneuvered no less than three social democratic challengers, and he will be able to continue the fundamental change of the Danish society that he started in 2001. […]

The Loser (“taberen”):

Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s time is running out. At yesterday’s national election the Prime Minister received another marked defeat for his party. Venstre has thus been on the retreat in all elections since 2001 — including municipal elections and European Parliament elections. On top of this the prime minister now has to prepare for a very shaky parliamentary situation with a very narrow majority.[Information, Today]

In some of the online election coverage I saw this alternative election poster for the equivalent of “None of the above“:

Vote for No-one

No-one in parliament 2007
No-one is honest
No-one is a good politician
No-one represents you
You need no-one

I don’t know who ran this campaign. I suspected that it was the youth organization of the Social Democratic party. They have a history of awesome election posters. But it looks like their poster this year is a lame Jackass themed poster with some of the famous faces from the government rolling down the hill in a shopping cart.

3 Comments to “Danish Election: No change”

  1. Morten Lynge 15 November 2007 at 3:37 #

    Actually I wouldn’t call the Danish Peoples Party (Dansk Folkeparti) ‘very right wing’. I don’t think they can really be placed correctly on a left-right political line.

    In most of their policies they’re actually closer to being socialist than right-wing, but since they just happen to hate foreigners (especially Muslims) they’ll get classed as right-wing….

    Personally I don’t really like the way things are going back home since almost all the parties have turned populist. Basically there’s no real difference between V, S, R, DF, NA and even SF as of late.
    It seems like only EL and K (to some degree) are the only ones who dare put forward opinions that’s not popular…

    Oh well, I live in the UK now, so it doesn’t affect me anymore 🙂

  2. Jan Karlsbjerg 15 November 2007 at 4:22 #

    Well, that (Dansk Folkeparti not being very right-wing) surprises me. I probably haven’t been paying enough attention: I thought they were strictly right-wing (financially and culturally), nationalistic with an added note of “higher pensions for the old folks” and that was that. (They certainly love anything that’s Danish and old, so there’s a lot of internal consistency there).

    Are they taking on more causes that fit “the worker” (to grab more unsatisfied social democratic voters)?

    The bit about there being no difference between most of the parties… are you sure that’s not just well-rehearsed smooth-talk that makes them sound alike, and then the last-minute election campaign policy compromise declarations on a few “key” issues (the 24 year rule, etc.)?

    They all wanted to sound palletable to each other when the election outcome was still up in the air. But I still think (hope!) that they have very different underlying assumptions and values.

    If they don’t, then Danish politics is going down the tubes.

    I did hear that one new parliamentary candidate had tried to get listed with one party, and when they didn’t want her, she joined another party and ran as a celeb candidate (TV news host) for them. Yuck.

    Granted, much of my politics news I get from DR’s satire radio show “Selvsving” (through podcast :-)), though lately I’ve been reading Danish newspapers too (online).

    I like that you feel K (Conservatives) are standing up for their unpopular opinions, but are you sure that this isn’t just you practicing selective hearing? 🙂

    Btw, you probably noticed that I didn’t translate “Venstre” into English in the blog post? 🙂 There are some historically motivated names you just can’t translate word-by-word without tons of explanation.

    I once heard that a Danish youth politician (Helveg Pedersen the younger I believe it was!) had been refused entry into the US by the American border-Stasi after he landed in New York. He was going to a youth politics summit and he told the border-Stasi-bully that he was representing “Radikale Venstre” (and then translated it). At the time I believe they were a part of a center-right (VKR) government in Denmark.

  3. Morten Lynge 15 November 2007 at 5:55 #

    The Danish Peoples party are generally defending a large public sector, and as you say also on the ‘side’ of older people and the ‘weak’ in society (or at least the ‘weak’ as described in that weeks papers). Mainly their attitudes are based on what is popular in the media at the time, so I suppose one could more call them populist than having defined policies.
    Given that most of their opinions on social issues are that they want more public money to this group or that group, I’d term them as more socialist than liberal at least on welfare and financial issues. They’re also, as you say, nationalistic and negative (to use a nice word) to anything foreign (EU, Muslims etc.) so in that aspect they’re right-wing.
    Their core voters are older people, people on some kind of public benefits, and of.c. the anti-immigrants.

    On the ‘no-difference’ part, the main thing that stuck me here was when SF (Socialist Peoples Party) promised not to put higher taxes on property owners!
    Plus in this election, you basically couldn’t see any difference between S (Social Democrats) and V (Liberals). Both were campaigning on welfare, with an old hardcore liberal (the prime minister) defending the Social Democrat welfare system, and the Social Democrats taking over Liberal tax ideas.
    Most of the smaller parties may have some specific points they’re different on, but in general everyone (except EL) was campaigning on continuing most of the policies of the current government….

    Danish politics are indeed, in my opinion, going down the tubes!
    More driven by media ‘flavor-of-the-week’ than any political opinions….

    I’m following affairs in Denmark very closely and is back home at least every 3 months, so I think I have about as good a view of how things are there as any expat can have.

    The current prime minister in particular will take over any politics from any party as long as they enable him to sit where he’s sitting. The ones not sitting on ministers chairs (the opposition) will assume any politics from any party as long as it enables them to get to sit on those chairs.
    Even if their real opinions are different, they can’t do anything once they get into power, since the structure of Danish politics (lots of parties in parliament) makes it necessary to have weak compromise solutions.
    I firmly believe a system like we have here in the UK is far better as the ruling party will be able to put their policies into action without having to compromise (except internally). They’ll then be judged on that at the next election.

    On whether I’m biased tovard K (Conservative), I probably am 🙂
    I do think I can distance myself from that though…..
    The K point of view that they’re keeping at even though it’s not very popular is their stance on taxes. Ok, it’s an area where I agree with them (Danish taxes are stupidly high), but it’s one of the few areas where you’ve heard someone in this election say something that wasn’t popular with more than 50% of the voter base (except from EL of.c.).
    All the other parties modified their positions a lot after what was popular in the media, with especially SF’s turnaround on property tax being hillarious.

    PS: For those who might not know how high the Danish taxes are, the last year before I left Denmark I was paying 73% of my income in taxes (all types, income, VAT, fuel, car, etc.). My income was decent, but not really high (30 year old software engineer).

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