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It is the latest political group to emerge in Denmark and wants to turn the concept of nationalism upside down. The University Post asked the party leader: What is it with the name? And the Danish flag?
While national parties, such as the National Front in France, tend to be associated with right wing, anti-immigrant or xenophobic politics, the newest party in Denmark, the National Party (Nationalpartiet) is trying to reclaim the term and give it a positive spin.
”We wanted to turn this concept and the discussion upside down and talk about the real values of the nation and really promote them with this name,” explains Kashif Ahmad, the party’s leader, in an interview with the University Post.
”We knew it would be provocative, but many people in Denmark tend to be provocative to start a discussion,” he adds.
He and his new party colleagues discussed many names when they launched at the end of 2014.
Nationalism, according to Kashif Ahmad, can be turned positive or negative. Previous Danish ‘national’ parties have tried to get Muslims and foreigners out of Denmark, Kashif Ahmad says. Not the National Party. Their nation is something different.
“If we called ourselves the minority party it wouldn’t have been suitable for our message because it’s really about being Danes and that all people should have equal rights and possibilities in Denmark. ”
On Facebook, the Danish flag is emblazoned across the cover. Not unlike images and logo of the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party, and other national party flags in other nations that also freely sport flags.
“When we launched the party the media said, ‘If I show you this name and this logo from other parties you see the opposite, you see a right-wing party’. But we want our message to come through the name and to see the name as something positive.”
But how do non-Danes react to all this flag waving?
“We need these 20,000 signatures to be electable and we are almost half way now. The interesting thing is that 90-95 per cent of our signatures are from ethnic Danes, white Danes, and we are wondering where are all the foreigners. It’s been really surprising that it is primarily ethnic Danes and we’re not sure if it is because of the media or if the foreigners are scared by the name,” says Kashif Ahmad.
Students tend to vote in favour of left-wing parties. So it’s no surprise that some students want to see a new left-of-centre voice compete in next year’s parliamentary elections and are supporting the emergent party’s efforts to get 20,000 signatures to run for Parliament.
The National Party aims to promote the end of intolerance, distrust and fear in Danish society. The party was announced in mid-October and many students hope that a political bid from them will bring greater diversity to Danish politics.
”The party separates itself from the parties we already have in Parliament and that is healthy for Danish politics. There is definitely a need for them,” said one biology student Melissa to opinion.dk.
According to Kashif Ahmad, the party seeks to counterbalance the anti-immigration stance of the Danish People’s Party. He believes that the National Party will address a gap not presently fufilled by parties of the left in Danish politics.
”The parties who could be traditionally relied on to remove discriminatory legislation are also jumping on the exclusionary bandwagon. I am talking about The Social Democrats, The Socialist People’s Party and The Danish Social Liberal Party,” said Ahmad to DR, ”several hundred thousand people are tired of it, so we’re coming into the picture.”
Former UCPH student Michael Schøt has promoted the National Party’s bid for parliamentary run on his weekly politics show.
He reminds people that a voter declaration is not actually a vote.
”Find their voter declaration and sign it, so that they can run for parliament. It’s not about me or you or what we think, it’s about democracy and everyone should have the right to be heard. If they then suddenly propose to cancel Christmas, you know what? Don’t vote for them,” said Schøt.
Is the ‘National Party’ a good name for this party? Tell us what you think in the comment field below!
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