Although certain political parties would like to see the rights of foreigners to vote in local and regional elections curtailed, the mayor of Billund in south Jutland is having none of it.
“Our foreign citizens here in the municipality are a part of society and they pay their taxes. That’s why they should also be able to take part in local democracy,” said Mayor Ib Kristensen, who represents the liberal party Venstre.
Billund has a number of foreigners living and working in the municipality and Kristensen feels that the election is a good way to showcase the Danish system as well as Danish democracy, DR Nyheder reports.
On October 26, the municipality held a well-attended English-language meeting concerning the elections at the public library in Billund.
One man, one vote?
However, Holger Gorm Petersen, a local councillor for the nationalist Nye Borgelige party in Vejle, disagrees.
“In local elections, a very few votes can have a great influence on the outcome and I don’t think it is reasonable that we in Denmark should run the risk of letting a few foreigners decide,” he said.
The mayor, however, argues that “the rules work well and I don’t think they should be changed”.
At the last local election, only 34 percent of foreigners living in Denmark bothered to vote at all, so Kristensen had no idea how much backing there was for an election meeting in English.
“It’s the first time that we’ve tried anything like this, so I’m a bit anxious regarding how many will turn up,” he said.
But in the end a good attendance dispelled his doubts.