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Election 2015: How the Danish system works

The Danish election has been called for 18 June. Here is a bit about the procedures in the Danish election and how a government is formed

The 18 June Danish general election will be the 23rd election since the Danish constitution was amended in 1953, reports Seven59.dk and DR.dk.

The campaign will last 23 days – since the constitutional amendment the average campaign has been 26.5 days.

The Constitution requires an election at least once every four years – the current government was elected on 15 September 2011, so the PM had around three months left to make an announcement.

Read also:Danish politics for dummies

Majority, does it matter?

179 parliamentary seats are at stake – 175 in Denmark and two each from the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Although the party leader that can put together a majority gets the keys to the prime minister’s office, it doesn’t mean that all the parties who form a coalition need an overall majority. Of those seats, 135 are distributed through proportional representation in the 10 constituencies. Constituencies have as few as two representatives (Bornholm) and as many as 20 (Zealand Constituency).

An additional 40 seats are allotted based upon the total distribution of votes in three voting regions – Central and Northern Jutland, Zealand and Southern Denmark and Greater Copenhagen.

Denmark practices ‘negative parliamentarianism’, which means that the Government need not have a majority in the Parliament, but it must not have a majority against it. If there is a majority against it, the Government must resign. The system of negative parliamentarianism means that Denmark can be run by a minority government. In fact, most Danish governments have been minority governments, where the Government parties have had less than 90 of the 179 seats in the Parliament.

Read also:Danish politics for the brainy – the 2015 election

Ten parties

The current Social Democrat/ Social Liberal coalition only has 64 seats, but has the support of the Socialist People’s Party (SF), the Red/Green Alliance (EL), and one seat each from the Faroes and Greenland, providing 91 seats and a working majority.

Ten parties are fighting this year’s election: On the left – the Social Democrats (S), the Social Liberals (R), Socialist People’s Party (SF), the Red/Green Alliance (EL), and the newly-formed Alternative Party. On the right: The Liberals (V), the Conservatives (K), the Danish People’s Party (DF), the Liberal Alliance (LA), and the Christian Democrats who have no parliamentary representation today.

A party [normally, see clarification by Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard below, ed.] needs at least 2 per cent of the vote to win parliamentary representation, which could create problems for the Prime Minister. If the Alternative party fails to reach the 2 per cent threshold its votes are lost.

Queen’s round

All citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote, with the exception of those placed under guardianship due to mental illness or disability.

The Royal Family does not vote, but the Queen is required to approve the new government after an election when she leads a so-called ‘Queen’s Round (‘dronningerunde’), when after consultations with each party leader Her Majesty chooses someone to lead negotiations.

Four million people were entitled to vote at the most recent election in 2011 and around 3.5 million did so – 87.74 percent.

This article was originally published on Seven59.dk .

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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