Danish Election Defeat: Consequences for the Left.
Anti-European Party Makes Gains in Danish Election.
The BBC reports:
Denmark’s opposition parties have beaten the governing coalition after a close general election.
With all mainland votes counted, the centre-right group led by ex-PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen beat PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s centre-left coalition, although her party is the largest.
Ms Thorning-Schmidt has now stood down as Social Democratic Party leader.
The right-wing, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party will become the second-largest in parliament
These are the results in Parliamentary seats:
- The Social Democrats (A) – 47
- Radikale, the Danish Social Liberal party (B) – 8
- Socialist People’s party (F) – 7
- Red-Green Alliance (Ø) – 14
- The Alternative (Å) –9
- Venstre (V) – 34
- Danish People’s party (O) – 37
- The Liberal Alliance (I) – 13
- The Conservative People’s party (C) – 6
From the Guardian.
Flemming Rose, the foreign editor of the right-wing Jyllands-Posten, comments on Politico.
The anti-immigration and anti-EU Danish People’s Party received its best result ever. It is now the second biggest party and almost doubled its support compared to 2011. This will resonate around Europe, where anti-immigration and anti-EU forces are gaining ground in several countries. The big question is whether the Danish People’s Party will join the new government. If that happens, the party’s chairman, Thulesen Dahl, may become the next minister of finance. It will depend on negotiations with Lars Løkke Rasmussen. “Am I awake, or am I asleep and dreaming?” the founder of the party and former chairman, Pia Kjærsgaard, told Danish TV.
The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) policy includes the following (Party site):
- The aim of the Danish People’s Party is to assert Denmark’s independence, to guarantee the freedom of the Danish people in their own country, and to preserve and promote representative government and the monarchy.
- Denmark’s constitutional monarchy must be preserved.
- The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church is the church of the Danish people.
- Danish independence and freedom are the primary objectives of Danish foreign policy.The Danish People’s Party wishes friendly and dynamic cooperation with all the democratic and freedom-loving peoples of the world, but we will not allow Denmark to surrender its sovereignty.As a consequence, the Danish People’s Party opposes the European Union.
- Denmark is not an immigrant-country and never has been. Thus we will not accept transformation to a multi-ethnic society.
— Olivier Truc (@OlivierSweden) June 19, 2015
The other electoral fact which will have a wider impact is that the ‘meat-free days’ Alternative Party (Alternativet) got more seats than the left-wing Socialist People’s Party, (Socialistisk Folkeparti) though fewer than the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne).
They compare themselves to Podemos.
Wikipedia notes, “it refuses to position itself on the classical left-wing, right-wing political spectrum.The party states the aims of supporting sustainability and environmentalism, internationalism, social justice and entrepreneurship.
The Alternative is based on six core values that characterise our internal and external working processes as well as specific political proposals.
The six core values are:
Courage. Courage to look problems in the eye. But also courage about the future we share.
Generosity. Everything which can be shared will be shared with anyone interested.
Transparency. Everybody should be able to look over our shoulders. On good days and on bad.
Humility. To the task. To those on whose shoulders we stand. And to those who will follow us.
Humour. Without humour there can be no creativity. Without creativity there can be no good ideas. Without good ideas there can be no creative power. Without creative power there can be no results.
Empathy. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Looking at the world from that point of view. And creating win-win solutions for everyone.
This is their ‘Manifesto’:
There is always an alternative!
The Alternative is a political idea. About personal freedom, social dignity, and living, sustainable communities. A hope. A dream. A yearning. For meaning, sense and compassionate relationships. The Alternative is an answer to what is happening in the world today. All around us. With us.
The Alternative is a shout out. Against cynicism, lack of generosity and the ticking off which prevails in our society.
The Alternative is a positive countermeasure. The desire to bring real and serious answers to the environmental and resource crisis our planet is in the midst of. A crisis which every day worsens our own and our children’s and grandchildren’s opportunities for good, rich and meaningful lives.
The Alternative is curiosity. About developing our local societies, cities and nations. We want to take back ownership of the economy and of democratic decisions. At our workplaces and in the places where we live our lives. Without losing the global vision for the responsibility for finding mutual solutions with our neighbours – including those who live on the other side of the world.
The Alternative is collaboration. We know that private companies alone cannot solve these problems. Neither can the public sector, and neither can the NGO movement. So we need to invent completely new links and ways of working together where we use the best from the private, public and the NGO sectors.
The Alternative is openness. Towards trying out new ideas and creating solutions which work. The Alternative is also thoughtfulness. About understanding complex contexts and resisting the temptation of simplified arguments and pleasant illusions.
The Alternative is courage. To look problems in the eye. But also courage about the future we have to share together. The Alternative is also humour. Without humour there can be no creativity. Without creativity there can be no good ideas. Without good ideas there can be no creative power. Without creative power there can be no results.
The Alternative is already a reality. Around the world new types of institutions, businesses and social networks are being created. Whether in Copenhagen, Seoul, Durban or Rio. Individually they may not be that significant, but together they form a global wave of change full of vitality.
The Alternative is for you. Who can tell that something has been set in motion. Who can feel that something new is starting to replace something old. Another way of looking at democracy, growth, work, responsibility and quality of life. That is The Alternative.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias is influenced by ‘post-Marxist’ populist discourse theorist Ernesto Laclau (Understanding Podemos. New Left Review. May-June 2015).
This ‘manifesto’ sounds as if one of the influences (if in a diluted form) on the Alternative is the ‘programme’ advocated by John Holloway in such books as How to Change to World Without Taking Power, screams and shouts included.
The Alternative’s success in winning seats on this ‘ programme’ after only two years of existence will not be universally welcomed on the European left.
By contrast we draw inspiration from the good result of the Danish Red-Green Alliance.
For more information on their background see, Denmark: Fresh openings for Red-Green Alliance as it marks 25 years. And their site (English section)
But all of this is overshadowed by the boost given to anti-European, anti-Internationalist, and xenophobic Dansk Folkeparti.
Update: already the Independent (just on-line) draws this conclusion: David Cameron could have a new ally for his EU reforms.
The right-wing populist Danish People’s Party is the undisputed winner of the elections. It took 21.4 per cent of the vote, up from 12.3 in 2011.
The eurosceptic group has struck a deal with his right-wing allies to support David Cameron’s plans for renegotiating EU rules about migration.
The PM wants to renegotiate rules around freedom of movement and social security payments, but has been stonewalled by a number of other European nations – he’ll welcome support from the new Danish government.
While Mr Cameron will see the result as a welcome boost, having Denmark on-side doesn’t necessarily make him any more likely to succeed.
In one sense, the prime minister is just standing still – he lost a close ally late last year in Sweden after the centre-left took power there. Denmark is really stepping in to fill the gap.
Despite its international reputation, Denmark is also a rather small country, with a population similar to that of Yorkshire.
The PM also needs to find agreement across Europe to actually effect any change. With so many countries actively set against his plans, this will still be difficult to achieve.
Written by Andrew Coates
June 19, 2015 at 11:07 am
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