[eng] Denmark will hold general elections on 18th of June

Article published on July 13, 2015
Article published on July 13, 2015

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

The Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, called a surpise press conference yesterday morning to annouce that the next General Elections in Denmark will take place on 18th June.

For several weeks now there has been a pre-election mood in the country, where the streets are filled with electoral posters of the parties that hope to stand in these elections. The Prime Minister was forced to call them before the end of the year and has waited until the the most favourable moment for her aims.

However, according to a survey published Tuesday by the Danish newspaper Politiken, the bloc of left-wing parties in the parliament to which Thorning-Schmidt's Social Democrats belongs, will gain 48% of popular support. Whereas the leftwing bloc is likely to win 52% of the votes.

Thorning-Schmidt has started the press conference by confirming that Denmark has already exited the crisis and promising more jobs: “It is a great responsibility and if the Danish people choose me, I will continue with the work that brings results. Work that will mean 120,000 new private sector jobs in the next year”, the Prime Minister has said.

The previous day she also announced también anunció a a package of social measures that will mean an investment of  39,000 millon Danish Crowns -some 5,200 millon Euros-, with which Thorning-Schmidt hopes to improve the results that the surveys have given.

The main leader of the opposition, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, aso gave a press conference just after the announcement of the call. “These elections are about the future of Denmark. Tomorrow's society must be better included than today's is. Although it is good, it is not sufficient”, said Rasmussen presenting himself as the better alternative to Thorning-Schmidt.

The perception that the Danish have of Rasmussen is more positive than that of Thorning-Schmidt, who is cosindered a good leader by her cold character cause difficulties in gaining the sympathy of her citizens. However Rasmussen has seen himself involved in varies scandals related to the spending of his party, which has lead him to lose the support of many and has helped Thorning-Schmidt to recover her position.

On the other hand, in the European elections a year ago, the latest held in Denmark untiil now, the anti-immigration and eurosceptic party of the extreme right  Dansk Folkeparti (DF) emerged victorious. This radical party took 26.6% of the votes, way ahead of Thorning-Schmidt's Social Democrats, who got 19.1% of votes, and Rasmussen's Liberals with 16.7%. It has always been considered part of the right-wing bloc, but until a few years ago it seemed unthinkable that it would hope to be one of the best positioned parties in the Parliament.

Precisely how the leader of DF, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, reacted to the annoucment critising spendings on immigration by the current government : “What we can see is that the this year the Government has spent 6,300 million extra Crowns on policies on asylum and familial reunification, and this money stops us being able to spend more on hospitals and our elderly”, he said in statements made to the newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

The four years of Thorning-Schmidt's Government has been marked by deep reforms to bring the country out of crisis, which had 7.6% unemployment when she entered government in 2011 and has gone down to 6.4% according to figures from Eurostat, very far from the 3.4% before the crisis. The economy grew by 1,1% in 2014, coming out of the negative trend of the last two years, but far from the rhythm of around 3% of the precrisis years.

Other hot topics in Danish society are immigration and terrorism, especially since the terrorist attacks in  Copenhagen last February where two people died. The red-tape of this crisis through State security forces has been heavily critised since an investigation opened into the political intervention during the 13 hours that it took to detain the terrorist. Although the image of the Prime Minister was reinforced as a strong leader in the face of terrorism, the head of the secret police was sacked, after it was thought the reaction of the political bodies was too slow.