With the local elections in Denmark just around the corner, there seems to be more exotic names than ever on the many election posters in Copenhagen.
Sheku Amadu Jalloh, Keith Gray, Anahita Malakians, Narcis George Matache and Dzenana Secic Colo are just a fraction of the many non-Danish names running for local office this month. In fact, you don’t have to be a Danish citizen to run for local office, and not everyone is pleased about that.
Right wing party Dansk Folkeparti (DF) contends that only Danish citizens should be able to run for office in Denmark, but since that view gets little support in Parliament, they’ve proposed that in order to run for office you must have passed a Danish language test.
“The minimum requirement should be that candidates can understand and speak Danish in order to take part in Danish democracy. So the proposal includes the passing of a Danish test,” said Martin Henriksen, the spokesperson for immigration affairs at DF, told TV2 News.
No change needed
The only rule for being able to run in a local election is that the prospective candidate must have been in Denmark for at least three consecutive years, and as it looks today, almost 350,000 foreigners living in Denmark can vote and run at the local elections.
And that’s the way it should be, argues Sofie Carsten Nielsen, the Radikale spokesperson for immigration issues.
“We’ve long agreed with our EU neighbours that all EU citizens have a right to vote at local and EU Parliament elections when they have residence and have been in another EU nation for three years,” Nielsen told TV2 News.
“Danes do the same in other European countries. They vote when they’ve been there some years and so do foreigners who work and live in Denmark. That’s how you engage with your local democracy.”
DF’s proposal will be discussed by Parliament for the first time tomorrow.