Left-wing predicted to surge in council elections

Enhedslisten’s mayoral candidate in Copenhagen says voters are responding to the national government’s broken promises and perceived move to the right

Far-left party Enhedslisten is set to make historic gains in the council elections on November 19 according to the latest polls.

The party is fielding 100 candidates in 85 of the 98 Danish councils and expects to massively increase the number of its elected representatives from the 14 currently serving in ten councils.

“Enhedslisten has the potential to become the champions of the local elections,” Ulrik Kjær, a local government researcher from the University of Southern Denmark, told Ritzau.

Surging socialism
Enhedslisten, which was formed in 1998, has had difficulty generating enough support to cross the three to four percent threshold to secure seats on local councils.

But the latest polls suggest the party will gain ten percent of the national vote and double its support in Copenhagen – a traditional stronghold where it won 10.9 percent of the vote in 2009 – to around 20 percent.

READ MORE: Enhedslisten wants Denmark to apologise for slave trade

As the third largest party in Copenhagen City Council, Enhedslisten managed to secure control of one of the city’s seven administrations, the social affairs administration. EL's Mikkel Warming is the city's current deputy mayor for social issues, but is not standing for re-election.

Gunning for a second city administration
But with 20 percent of the vote, Enhedslisten is gunning to take control of a second department and, according to leading candidate Morten Kabell, EL has the technical and environmental administration in its sights.

READ MORE: Why does Copenhagen need seven mayors? Understanding the City Council

“This election is about the direction of Copenhagen's  traffic policies,” Kabell told The Copenhagen Post. “The right-wing wants more cars but the rest of us on the left don’t agree. The rest of the world is going in the opposite direction and even Lagos in Nigeria is starting to remove cars from the street.”

The left-wing alternative
Kabell argues that Copenhagen has always been a left-leaning city but that EL's rise can be attributed to the broken promises of the centre-left national government.

“Enhedslisten is the natural alternative for members of Socialdemokraterne and Socialistisk Folkeparti who want the community to work,” Kabell said.

“Our message is resonating now because we have had a government that spent its first two years in office systematically reneging on their promises," he said. "They came to power promising more social responsibility rather than promoting individual needs, but have done quite the opposition. People are now responding to that and saying that we need to work together.”

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