Water was pouring down in Copenhagen during the night of the municipal and regional elections held last Tuesday in the Nordic country. For some, the rain brought joy and hope for the beginning of a new political stage, such as, for example, for the party of anti-capitalists and environmentalists. Enhedslisten De Røde-Grønne (Red-Green Alliance), which with 24.6% of the votes achieved a surprising and historic result by becoming the most voted list in the capital. For others, the bad weather was an omen of the political storm that was about to overtake them.
The face and rigidity of the Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democrats, Mette Frederiksen, who appeared that night to assess the results, was evident. “We continue to be the most voted party in Denmark,” said Frederiksen, clinging to almost the only positive reading he could make of the elections. The other favorable point for his party was that, despite not having won, they had managed to keep the mayor’s office in Copenhagen.RELATED
In the capital they were the second most voted force, with 17.3% of the votes. The victory went to the anti-capitalists, with 24.6%. But thanks to the controversial support of the Konservative Folkepati (Conservative People’s Party) and Venstre (Liberals), who wanted to prevent the anti-capitalists from taking office at all costs, the Socialists will stay in power. His candidate, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, will be the new mayor in the undisputed Social Democratic fiefdom, which they have been winning for 112 years and ruling uninterruptedly in all municipal elections so far.
The poor results achieved in Copenhagen have been no exception and were generalized in the other three main Danish cities (Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg), where the party lost more than 10% of the votes (in Aalborg, 12%). Beyond the urban centers, the stumbling block of the Social Democrats has occurred throughout the country and their results have worsened compared to the 2017 local elections in 70 of the total of 98 municipalities, going from obtaining 32.4% of the votes to the current 28.5%. “These are unexpectedly bad results for the Social Democrats,” the political scientist Christine Cordsen said live on the public channel DR.
This electoral crisis is further aggravated by the good results obtained in Copenhagen by the bloc of progressive parties, with the victory of the anti-capitalists and the rise of Radikale Venstre (Social Liberal Party), obtaining 11.9% of the votes and of the Socialistisk Folkeparti (Popular Socialist Party) with 11%. The resurgence of the Conservative People’s Party, with 15.2% of votes, represents its best results in local elections in decades, and they are consolidated, giving strength to the right-wing bloc in the face of the next national elections scheduled for a year from now. and a half.
The poor social democratic results delve further into the crisis caused by the parliamentary commission, held at the beginning of the month, which investigated the decision made by the government a year ago to sacrifice 15 million minks. “Mette Frederiksen is undoubtedly facing her gravest crisis as prime minister, aggrieved by disappointing election results for which many Social Democrats blame her,” Cordsen said.
“Until now, everyone thought that Mette Frederiksen was invincible and that she would be the Danish Prime Minister for many years,” says Roger Buch, political scientist and professor at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. The analyst refers to the good management that has endorsed the Social Democratic Government so far since it came to power in 2019 and that it has managed to govern in a minority by reaching agreements in Parliament.
“These local elections have made evident the problems that the party is going through,” he says. “The electoral stumbling block has been the majority among the young and urban population, who in aspects such as climate policies do not see that they are a sufficiently progressive party,” says Buch. Since the beginning of the legislature, the Executive of Frederiksen has also allocated many resources in developing a plan to decentralize university educational centers or public offices and institutions, moving them from large cities to small towns and islands, with the aim of repopulating the areas. rural areas of the country.
“This strategy has been seen as a way to penalize urban populations,” says Buch, who assures that young people have stopped voting for the Social Democrats. “They must regain their vote if they want to have a chance of winning in the next general elections,” says the expert.
The investigation into the order to kill mink during the second wave of COVID-19 is taking a dangerous path and one that puts Frederiksen herself at the center of the scandal. The commission must determine whether, at the time the prime minister gave the order to euthanize the animals, she and her government team knew they did not have the constitutional powers to do so.
The decision to eradicate minks was made when the Danish Health Agency identified a new coronavirus mutation developed among farm animals. It was feared that it could be transmitted to humans. At the time, this order resulted in the immediate resignation of the then Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Mogens Jensen.
Now, the commission investigating the case has asked to have access to all communications from the Executive since the day the decision was made, but the police have confirmed that there are several SMS messages among the communications. exchanged between Frederiksen and Jensen that have been eliminated and cannot be recovered. The prime minister has always denied that she and the government team “knew that the decision was illegal and unconstitutional when it was taken”, arguments that she herself will be able to defend before the commission when she appears in early December, but that they have opened a credibility crisis in the Executive.
However, if the election night was bad for the Social Democrats, for the Danks Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party) it was a real nightmare. The xenophobic far-right party, which in 2015 managed to be the second force at the national level and to influence the entire parliamentary arch with its anti-immigration policies, confirmed its decline by losing half of the votes compared to the last local elections and remaining only with the 4%.
The day after the election night, its president, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, resigned and now the party is in search of a charismatic leader, which could be the former Liberal minister in 2015, Inger Støjberg, promoter of controversial laws of refugees.
However, the debacle of the Danish People’s Party does not mean the disappearance of the extreme right in Denmark, since the elections have consolidated with 3.6% of the votes to Nye borgerlige (New Right), an openly even more racist party that defines itself as anti-Islamic and advocates radical economic ultra-liberalism. “When the Social Democracy embraces anti-immigration ideas, it no longer makes sense to vote for the traditional extreme right and even more radical and remote options emerge,” concludes analyst Buch.