Danish Elections – A Right-wing Victory

Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Denmark were surprising in many ways. The extreme right-wing Danish People’s Party became the big winner, which also led to a huge defeat of the biggest party in the last elections in 2011, the Liberal party “Venstre”.

The Social Democrats on the other hand became the biggest party in the elections, whereas the party’s former coalition partners in government, the Social Liberals and the Socialist People’s Party (SF), suffered from decisive defeats.
A new government will be formed under the leadership of Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the leader of “Venstre”, who was the Prime Minister of the former right-wing, bourgeois government until 2011. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Prime Minister of the last 4 years and leader of the Social Democrats, chose to step down in both capacities last night.
Enhedslisten/the Red-Green Alliance increased its votes from 6.7 to 7.8 % in the elections.


Here are the results (compared to the 2011 results), in which 10 political parties were standing:


2011 in %

2015 in %

Socialdemokratiet – Social Democrats



Radikale Venstre – Social Liberals



Det Konservative Folkeparti – Conservative People’s Party



Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) – Socialist People’s Party



Liberal Alliance – Liberal Alliance



Kristendemokraterne – Christian Democrats



Dansk Folkeparti – Danish People’s Party



Venstre – Liberal Party



Enhedslisten – The Red-Green Alliance



Alternativet – The Alternative



Some general remarks

The election campaign has been a very close race between the so-called two “blocs” of parties in the Danish parliament – the “Blue Bloc” and the “Red Bloc”, as shown on a daily basis by the media and numerous polls, which contributed significantly to the race.
However, it was a surprise that the extreme right-wing Danish People’s Party would become the largest of the right-wing/bourgeois parties in the elections. Their result is higher than shown in the polls during the election campaign.
It remains to be seen how the next Danish government will be composed. It is still an open question whether the Danish People’s Party wishes to be part of the government.
At the same time just as surprisingly, the Social Democrats gained 3 seats in the elections, apparently drawing support from some of the previous voters of SF. The lesson of the last four years of Social Democratic-led government has not been good: The economic policies were more or less copied from the previous bourgeois right-wing government. Although there were good signs in the beginning of the period with for the first time a woman as the Prime Minister of a Danish government, and for the first time the Socialist People’s Party (SF) in government, there was as well fast popular disillusionment with the policies of the government.
This to some extent explains the success of the Danish People’s Party.

Enhedslisten/the Red-Green Alliance

We are of course happy to announce that Enhedslisten/the Red-Green Alliance (RGA) advanced in the elections by over 1 %, which means a rise from 12 to 14 seats in the parliament. In the parliamentary elections in 2011, the party had a rise from 4 to 12 seats with 6.7 % (up from 2.2 %) of the votes.
The increase in support of the Red-Green Alliance should of course to a great extent be seen on the background of popular disaffection with the economic and social policies of the Social Democratic-led government over the last 4 years. But the polls 2 years ago showed support of the RGA to be at around 12 %. The gains in the Sunday’s elections are small in comparison with the previous polls. However, the Red-Green Alliance has now become the fourth largest political party in Denmark.
The election campaign of the Red-Green Alliance focused on the main issues that the party has fought for the last 4 years, such as defence of the weakest in society, to improve the public sector, to remove the reforms that have led to a deterioration of the situation of the unemployed and those on social welfare, as well as a focus on green policies to fight climate change.

Strange and nasty election campaign

This has been in many ways a strange election campaign with quite a number of the many parties standing achieving relatively good figures in the opinion polls, and with a kind of “presidential campaign” between the leaders of the two big parties – the Social Democrats and the big liberal party “Venstre”.
Neither of the leaders were very popular and sometimes competed on some of the worst notes and issues: How to prevent more refugees from entering the country, how to make more of the unemployed “work” or “get a job” – at worst the campaign seemed to be mainly an attack on the weakest in society.
An important reason for the negative focus on refugees (and immigrants) is of course the rise of the extreme right-wing Danish People’s Party. It is remarkable that international affairs – apart from the issue of refugees – were hardly touched upon in the election campaign. This applies as well to issues concerning the EU.
A good number of voters have obviously been looking for alternatives to the nasty debates on refugees and on the “lazy” unemployed and therefore preferred to vote in favour of parties with more alternative and radical policies. This applies especially to a new party “The Alternative”, a centre-left party placing itself in the Red Bloc of parties, but which is rather a social-liberal green party, and not really leftist and anti-Capitalist in perspective. This party was set up by defectors (among them a former minister) of the Social Liberal party. The new party has been good at presenting visionary green and other policies.
At the other end of the spectrum the Liberal Alliance party has also been successful in the elections. This is a party with a clear neo-liberal profile, aiming to reduce the public sector even further.

Composition of the new parliament

The “Danish Folketing” has 179 seats. The last elections in 2011 were very narrow with the Red Bloc of parties achieving 89 seats to those of the Blue Bloc at 86 seats.
This time the Blue Bloc will muster 90 seats. There are also 4 North Atlantic (Greenland and Faroe islands) seats – their elected MPs only sometimes choose sides after elections.