Denmark Votes in Deeply Divided Election

On Tuesday, Denmark began voting in what's anticipated to be a heated and contentious general election. Candidates span more than a dozen political parties and analysts believe the election could result in some unexpected political outcomes.

Denmark Votes in Deeply Divided Election
Image credit: AFP [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • On Tuesday, Denmark began voting in what's anticipated to be a heated and contentious general election. Candidates span more than a dozen political parties and analysts believe the election could result in some unexpected political outcomes.
  • In the "Folketing" legislature, neither the center-left nor center-right is expected to win the majority. Without a majority, former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen — who left his party this year to create a new party — may find himself in a kingmaker position in which his votes would be required in the creation of the new government.
  • One of the key players in the election is current PM Mette Frederiksen, who in 2019 became the country's youngest PM. She hopes to form a broad coalition across the right/left divide by seeking a vote of confidence for her handling of the pandemic and inflation.
  • Frederiksen was forced to call for the general election when the left-wing party backing her minority administration withdrew its support. She called for the election saying she wants "a broad coalition with parties on both sides" in relation to the political center.
  • The Frederiksen administration came under fire when they ordered the culling of minks over concerns that COVID variants could make vaccines less effective. Following the order, 17M animals were slaughtered — shuttering the country's mink industry and drawing ire from the public.
  • The current PM will also have competition from two center-right politicians, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, a liberal leader, and Søren Pape Poulsen, a conservative leader, in addition to Rasmussen. After submitting her ballot, Frederiksen said "We are fighting to the end. It will be a close election...I am optimistic but I am not sure of anything."

Sources: New York Times, Al Jazeera, DW, and Guardian.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Bloomberg. Danes are voting for their lives and their livelihoods. Frederiksen may have navigated the country through the pandemic, but she did irreparable damage with her mink-culling decision. However, although Danes are now on the other side of COVID and may be ready to move on, they're deeply divided on inflation, energy, climate change, healthcare, and immigration — the PM is still very much in the picture.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Politico. Denmark's now-divided electorate is creating a potential game-changing wildcard. With neither left nor right poised to take a majority, Rasmussen may be in line for the role of kingmaker. Known as the "Danish comeback kid," he could use his position to become PM again. An amazing turn of events for someone who founded a new political party just a few months ago.