Election News Round-up: Parliament and politicians’ credibility on the slide – The Post

Election News Round-up: Parliament and politicians’ credibility on the slide

In other stories, how to get immigrants off the sofa and into the voting booths and how to avoid doing time for defacing election posters

And they’re off: just like 2015 but with even less public confidence (Photo: Johan Wessman/News Øresund)
May 14th, 2019 11:35 am| by Stephen Gadd

A new study carried out by Danmarks Statistik for Aalborg University should make extremely disquieting reading for Danish politicians. The study reveals that confidence in Parliament has fallen by 14 percentage points from 68 percent in 2008 to 55 percent in 2017, and this is within all groups of society, DR Nyheder reports. However, it is amongst the lowest-educated and lowest-paid that the fall is greatest.

“It’s not because we’ve lost faith in democracy but many Danes have lost confidence in the political institutions because they’ve experienced that politicians have let them down many times when they’ve needed them,” said Morten Frederiksen, an associate professor from Aalborg University, who is the head of the research project.

In cloud cuckoo land
Broken election promises are also a source of dissatisfaction, as well as a general feeling that politicians are completely out of touch with the real world. Frederiksen points out that the lowest-educated and lowest-paid have also been the ones most let down during the financial crisis. “Our society is based on a social contract whereby we pay a lot of tax and politicians solve the major problems in society that we can’t solve. When the system was tested during the financial crisis, it was especially this group that had the rug pulled out from under them,” he said.

Immigrants and their descendants seldom vote
A recurring problem in Danish election campaigns has been how to get immigrants and their descendants to turn out and vote. Figures analysed by Kasper Møller Hansen from the University of Copenhagen reveal that only 66 percent of this group with Danish citizenship voted in the 2015 General Election – 20 percent fewer than ethnic Danes, reports DR Nyheder. If the trend is to be reversed, ‘model citizens’ are needed to remind families, neighbours and friends that there is an election and that they must remember to vote. “I tell them that it’s your money that us politicians administer. If you want to have influence over who decides on your behalf, then you should vote,” says Youssef Idiab, a municipal councillor for Socialdemokratiet with a Palestinian background.

Six years for defacing election posters
Election posters can act as a red rag to a bull and a lot of people seem unable to resist the temptation to embellish them with Hitler moustaches or just tear them down. But before you decide to have a little fun with Rasmus Palludan next time you are in high spirits on the way home from a wet evening in town, it is worth remembering that you risk imprisonment if caught. According to Paragraph 291, Section 2 of the Penal Code, in cases of extreme vandalism against election posters you can risk a sentence of up to six years. If it cannot be proved that the damage was politically motivated, an offender will typically be fined between 800 and 1,500 kroner.

Steam engine stunt goes badly wrong
It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of setting an election campaign alight. On Sunday afternoon, Venstre’s candidate Kristian Pihl Lorentzen made a trip across mid and west Jutland with colleagues and potential voters in a train pulled by a hired steam locomotive. However, just outside Skive the train caused dry grass and bushes along the track to catch fire, DR Nyheder reports. Reports reached police around 12:15 of a fire in a nature reserve between Dommerby and Højslev. Later, further reports came in culminating in one at around 17:52 of a fire near Bjerringbro. There were nine fires in all reported along the train’s route. The fire brigade was able to extinguish the fires quickly but had they not been noticed in time, they could have done extensive damage.