We know Venstre won’t really want to relive their nightmare now that all the votes are counted and the 2019 Danish General Election is over.
I don’t want to talk about the things we’ve gone through. Though it’s hurting me, now it’s history.
Out of time
By the time the Danish public went to the polls on June 5, PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen had tried every trick in the book: from unlikely vote-winning policies to a last-gasp appeal to his main opponent to form a government across the political divide.
I’ve played all my cards and that’s what you’ve done too. Nothing more to say. No more ace to play.
In the end he was outfoxed by a party that gambled on taking its immigration policy to the right. The votes Socialdemokratiet then lost to fellow red bloc parties Radikale and Socialistisk Folkeparti were more than made up for by the support it gathered from disillusioned Dansk Folkeparti supporters.
The winner takes it all. The loser standing small. Beside the victory, that’s her destiny.
So without further ado, here are the winners and losers of the 2019 Danish General Election.
Socialdemokratiet: The country’s most popular party might have only won one extra mandate, but thanks to the support of R, SF and Enhedslisten, the left bloc won more than enough mandates to form the next government with S leader Mette Frederiksen at the helm. Just 41 years old, she will soon become Denmark’s youngest-ever prime minister.
Mette Frederiksen: The S leader got the most personal votes out of anyone in the general election with 43,489, followed by Rasmussen with 40,745. Pernille Skipper (E) came third with 33,024, while departing immigration minister Inger Støjberg and Tommy Ahlers (both V) completed the top five with 28,420 and 26,420. Nicolai Wammen (S), Jacob Mark (SF), Kristian Thulesen Dahl (DF), Søren Pape Poulsen (K), Ida Auken (R), Pia Olsen Dyhr (SF), Jakob Ellemann-Jensen (V), Preben Bang Henriksen (V), Karsten Lauritzen (V), Magnus Heunicke (S), Astrid Krag (S), Morten Østergaard (R), Dan Jørgensen (S), Mattias Tesfaye (S), and Ellen Trane Nørby (V) completed the top 20. At the last election in 2015, DF head Kristian Thulesen Dahl got the most votes with 57,371 – a sorry indicator of DF’s massive decline.
Women: On top of Denmark’s getting its second female PM, the election tied a Danish record for the highest percentage of women being elected into Parliament with 39.1 percent (70 out of 179). But despite that, Denmark is still lagging behind compared to its neighbours and remains the only Nordic country to have never had a share of women in Christiansborg that is above 40 percent. SF did its best to improve the ratio this year when it equalled its own 2011 election record with 11 of its 14 mandates going to women. R, Konservative, and Nye Borgerlige also had a 50 percent or better share of women. In contrast, none of Liberal Alliance’s four mandates will go to a woman, while Alternativet only has one out of its five. In 1998, Denmark was second in the world with a 37.4 percent share of women in Parliament, but the Danes are now ranked 25th as other countries have caught up.
Integration: Despite voter participation dropping slightly from a national standpoint, the vulnerable districts in Denmark – the so-called ghettos – saw a significant spike in voter numbers. Ghetto areas that saw a marked increase in voter numbers compared to 2015 included Vollsmose in Odense, Tingbjerg in Copenhagen and Gellerupparken in Aarhus. In 2015, 20 percent fewer immigrants voted compared to ethnic Danes, but experts contend that many turned out this year in the face of fierce right-wing rhetoric from parties like Stram Kurs. Slogans such as ‘Yalla! Stem eller bliv stemt hjem’ (’Yalla, vote or be sent home’) have helped motivate the immigrants to turn out in much higher numbers. Radikale garnered the most votes in the three ghettos mentioned above.
The handicapped: Kristian Hegaard from R has become the first handicapped person in Danish history to become an MP. The 28-year-old wheelchair-bound law student, who has been a Fredensborg city council member since 2010, received 1,945 votes. The national handicapped association, Dansk Handicapforbund, said Hegaard’s achievement was massive for all people with handicaps. Hegaard suffers from a congenital bone disease.
Konservative: After a number of lean elections that scarcely merited their right to co-govern, the Danish Tories are back with six extra mandates. Søren Pape Poulsen, the outgoing justice minister, lapped up the applause in front of a crowd at Dansk Erhverv who looked like they have really started to believe again. Maybe this is only the beginning.
SF: With seven extra mandates, SF has banished the poor performance of 2015 into the annals of history, and party leader Pia Olsen Dyhr – a newbie who looked out of place four years ago – can rightly be proud of her party’s performance, as it took its total number of seats from seven to 14. Should S choose to form a government with just one party, it will be SF. The likelihood of both SF and R playing a part is slim.
Radikale: After a poor show in 2015, party leader Morten Østergaard has instilled belief into the party’s ranks with a great election in which the party increased its number of mandates from eight to 16. The next four years will most likely see R become the true flag-bearer of the left, as S becomes increasingly centrist. Unlikely, therefore, to play a part in the government, it will be expected to support S – and on issues such as immigration be in place, alongside E, to soften S’s stance.
Enhedslisten: At Vega on election night Pernille Skipper thanked a mostly 20-something crowd for making this a memorable election for the ultra left-wing party in the capital, where it very nearly won the biggest share of the vote with a 16.4 percent share thanks to barnstorming performances in Vesterbro and Nørrebro. However, across the rest of the country its performance was so-so, and it ended up seeing its mandate share slide from 14 to 13.
Nye Borgerlige: The new right-wing party started with nothing and thanks to an impressive election in which it won 2.4 percent of the public vote, it now has four mandates, Its leader Pernille Vermund is particularly happy, as she competed valiantly against DF chair Kristian Thulesen Dahl in South Jutland, where DF’s share of the vote was more than halved from 28.4 to 12.5 percent. Mette Thiesen, Lars Boje Mathiesen and Peter Seier Christensen (the brother of Saxo Bank’s Lars) look most likely to fill the other mandates.
Kristendemokraterne: Nobody gave Kristendemokraterne a chance a few months ago, but the promotion of 26-year-old Isabella Arendt to the position of leader last month put fresh wind in their sails, and in the end the party came up only marginally short. Not only did they increase their 0.8 percent share of the votes in 2015 to 1.7 percent, but they were just 191 votes short of winning representation in west Jutland – a full explanation of exactly how would require an entire article! With Arendt at the helm, it won’t be long until they return to Parliament for the first time since 2001.
Venstre: After a good performance in the European elections ten days earlier, V was tipped to do well, but nobody was expecting its leader, PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen, to hang on to power (a miracle was needed) or for the leading blue party (overtaking DF this election) to be part of the next government. V won nine extra mandates this election to take its total to 43 – just five shy of S – but in truth the damage was done a long time ago thanks to sloppy environmental policy (electric car subsidies, anyone?), downright nasty immigration rules (the cake!) and a more cunning opponent. An eleventh-hour appeal to its main political rival to reach across the divide and form a government hardly did the other blue bloc parties any favours either.
Wasted votes: Despite getting 153,923 votes between them, KD, Klaus Riskær Pedersen and SK failed to get into Parliament on Wednesday night. That means that the election had the fourth highest number of ‘wasted’ votes since 1953 and the most since 1990 (167,644). In total, 4.3 percent of the votes went to the three parties. The largest share of the wasted votes were cast in west Jutland, where 5.4 percent of voters ticked for one of the three losing parties.
Prominent figures: From one day to the next, Anders Samuelsen went from Denmark’s foreign minister to resigning as head of LA following an abysmal election showing. Young party star Alex Vanopslagh has become the next party head. Meanwhile, a disastrous election from DF means that one of their key figures, the spokesperson for immigration issues, Martin Henriksen, has not managed to gain enough votes for Parliament. DF chair Peter Skaarup took the only mandate the party gained in Copenhagen, leaving Henriksen as the odd man out. DF lost 21 of its 37 mandates in one of the most epic collapses in Danish election history.
Young candidates: According to an analysis of the 900 candidates running in the 2019 Danish General Election, only 40 are women under the age of 30 – the least represented decade/gender group of a working age. In contrast, 160 of the candidates are men in their 40s. The youngest candidate, 18-year-old Laura Emilie Hollander Jensen, an A candidate in west Jutland, told DR that people think it’s “cool” and “wild” that she is standing for election. “Many are surprised that it is possible at all to become a candidate as an 18-year-old,” she added. “Many wonder if you can do it at all.”
Dansk Folkeparti: DF was expected to do badly after a great 2015, but not this badly. It lost 21 mandates to leave it with just 16 – of which only one is in Copenhagen. The emergence of NB and SK took the wind out of its hard right-wing credentials, but in truth the damage was done a long time ago when DF failed to make any real impact despite being the biggest blue bloc party in 2015, and then S ramped up its immigration policy.
Liberal Alliance: The libertarian party lost over two-thirds of its mandates, as its allocation fell from 13 to four seats. The party lost both its mandates in the Nordsjællands Storkreds constituency, which means its leader Anders Samuelsen will no longer be an MP. Likewise Joachim B Olsen, who memorably took an ad out on Pornhub, has also seen his load lightened.
Alternativet: Despite its strong climate focus, the liberal party was never expected to match its performance in 2015 when it ran as the new boys with a keen focus on green concerns and culture. It has lost four of its nine mandates. A slide in popularity in the capital has seen the party lose one of its two mandates, meaning party leader Uffe Elbæk will hold onto his seat, but group chair Carolina Magdalene Maier will not.
Stram Kurs: Heading into the election, the new far right party was grabbing all the headlines and seemingly on course to get more than 2 percent of the public vote – the minimum required to get a mandate – but in the end it came up short, winning 1.8 percent. For its leader Rasmus Paludan, who only assembled his candidates in May, the election simply came too soon. But maybe he shouldn’t have made the naked artist guy one of his most prominent candidates.
Mama Pia: DF co-founder and Parliament speaker Pia Kjærsgaard struggled mightily in this election compared to four years ago. Kjærsgaard secured just 9,953 votes this time – a far cry from 2015 when she attracted the sixth most votes out of anyone with 26,583. Despite the setback, she still finished third in the Outer Copenhagen major district. And she will be joined in Parliament by Morten Messerschmidt, who secured a mandate in north Zealand and will make a return to Christiansborg following several years in the European Parliament.