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Municipal elections – Which party has which letter?

With the upcoming municipal election, you may be wondering how to keep check of the different parties and the letter allocated to them-  as they often do not at all correspond to their name.

By Bente D. Knudsen

Denmark’s main political parties are represented in all of the 98 municipalities as well as local ones – for instance in Hørsholm Kommune they have a candidate from a party called Rungsted Listen as well as one from Nye Veje.

None of these local lists are represented in the Danish parliament – and Rungstedlisten (the name of a suburb in Hørsholm Kommune) is of course only local.

In your local municipality this may be the case as well.

Also the letter attributed to the nationwide parties do not at all correspond to their name.

Thus Socialdemokratiet’s letter is A and not S. Are you confused? If you try to find an S on your ballot card you will find it absent.

The letter S is reserved for the German minority party list the  Slesvigske Parti, who although not present in Danish politics at all – have a right to run for the Danish parliament should they want to do so and thus have a letter reserved for them.

The article continues below.

You can find below the letter that corresponds to the different parties.

Some letters can never be allocated, as for instance the letter W, which is not used to avoid confusion with V and the letter X to avoid confusion with the X mark you should put in front of the party or candidate you want to vote for. Others are used for the local parties.

 

A Socialdemokratiet
B Radikale Venstre
C Det Konservative Folkeparti
D Nye Borgerlige
F SF – Socialistisk Folkeparti
I Liberal Alliance
K Kristendemokraterne
N Folkebevægelsen mod EU
O Dansk Folkeparti
V Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti
Ø Enhedslisten, De Rød-Grønne
Å Alternativet

 

As in the Danish parliament, the local municipalities are also often ruled by a coalition of parties to enable them to get a majority in the municipality. Often these coalitions are known before the elections and presented as valgforbund.

From one municipality to the next they may be different and they can also be different from the one of the Danish Government.

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Which party to vote for?

You may not know any local names or politicians that well, and instead opt to vote for a candidate from one of the national parties. In this case, you need to determine if you are more a left or a right wing voter.

In Denmark the left wing is red and the right wing is blue – and the coalitions are called block. In the national parliament the rød block or red block are the left wing parties and the blå or blue block the right wing.

The ‘blå blok‘, also known as ‘de borgerlige‘ (the ‘bourgeois’), are liberals, conservatives and other right-wing parties.

The ‘rød blok‘ are social democrats, liberal democrats and other left-wing parties.

Each block supports a candidate for the position as statsminister (prime minister). Mette Frederiksen is the actual Prime Minister and gets her support from the rød  blok coalition.

 

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Udlændingepolitik – immigration policy

There are three themes that keep on coming back in the present political debate: the national economy, especially economic growth, and the growth of the public sector; welfare state topics such as health, education and taking care of the elderly.

In the local municipal and regional elections the focus of the politicians is how to allocate resources to their local population with regards to schools, public health, the elderly, sport and leisure activities for instance.

Finally, there is ‘udlændingepolitik’, which translates literally as ‘foreigner policy’ but is more correctly described as immigration policy.

“Opinion polls show that a majority of Danes wish to have a strict immigration policy, or at least that the present rules will not be softened up,” says Christine Cordsen former political commentator for Jyllands Posten, currently working for DR, in an interview. “Immigration politics, and the way these are discussed, have gradually changed over the last twenty years. Things that were outrageous to say back then are quite normal now.

Dansk Folkeparti, which has immigration policy as one of its big themes, had considerable direct power as a support party for the right-wing coalition led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen from 2001 until 2009. But they also had considerable indirect power, because they set the agenda by opposing immigrants, and especially non-western immigrants, but also in the way they talked about immigrants.”

“Even the social democrats, Socialdemokraterne, now favour fairly strict rules concerning immigration, and this has met no great internal opposition, unlike before. Now Venstre, instead of Socialdemokraterne, has heated internal debates about immigrants and the way they are treated in Denmark. In that sense you could say that the “middle” has moved to the right,” she says explaining the evolution.

“The tone of the debate and the way immigrants are being talked about splits Venstre’s party members. On the one hand, they think it is problematic that there are immigrants and refugees who, after considerable time spent in Denmark, still have difficulty speaking Danish, still have not found work, and keep to themselves instead of reaching out to Danish society. And this affects their children’s careers in school, too.

On the other hand, there are many Danes and Danish companies, who want to attract labour forces from abroad for various reasons. If the tone towards immigrants becomes too harsh, this might scare immigrants away, which is not what they want.

So Venstre has suggested making different sets of rules for different types of immigrants: on the one hand favourable rules for immigrants who are highly educated and are expected to contribute positively to Danish society. And, on the other, a strict set of rules for immigrants, mostly refugees and/or non-western, who are not very highly educated.

But this is problematic on another level. The idea of dividing people up, and treating them differently, goes directly against a deeply-felt passion for equality, which is seen as a very Danish value.”

The article continues below.

Left is right!
Are you puzzled about why the right-wing party Venstre is called venstre, which means ‘left’ in Danish. Here is the rather simple – even if strange – explanation.

“It has to do with the representatives in the French National Assembly, right after the French Revolution,” Rune Stubager, professor of political science at Aarhus University, and a frequent commentator in Danish media, explains: “The representatives, who were most reform-minded and against privilege, in other words classical-liberal, were seated to the left.

The Danish representatives who followed this way of thinking, took over the word ‘left’ to signify their reformist, liberal outlook, in Danish venstre. They were the first to form a political party, and kept the name Venstre. Later on, when the social-democrats entered the political scene, and the political scale, so to say, was stretched to the left, Venstre was no longer left-wing. But the name stuck anyway.”