As polls close, shift to right predicted

Exit polls showing Venstre overtaking Socialdemokraterne in local races, but big winner looking to be Enhedslisten, as the far-left party is predicted to more than triple its support in Copenhagen

In the murky twilight, a line of voters snaked 50 metres out the front door of Copenhagen City Hall, waiting their turn to cast their ballot

Voting does not end until 8pm, but early returns predict a dramatic shift to the right overall, and in Copenhagen the outcome of could have a dramatic impact on the direction the city takes.

An exit poll by Epinion for DR predicts the ruling Socialdemokraterne falling back 5 percent nationally to 25.3 percent of the vote in the country's 98 local councils, while their opposition rivals Venstre will rise about two percent to 26.6 percent.

READ MORE: Local candidates drawn to office by political spoils

Strengthening right-wing
Other right-wing parties that are predicted to do well nationally are Dansk Folkeparti (DF) and Liberal Alliance, while left-wing Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) is expected to lose more than half its local council seats and shrink to around 6.6 percent of the vote.

Copenhagen City Hall is ruled by a majority of left-wing parties and led by the Socialdemokraterne mayor Frank Jensen. But despite the shift to the right, his party's alliance with Enhedslisten is expected to keep him in power – the far-left party is expected to surge to around 20 percent in Copenhagen.

But the balance of power has shifted and the city's administration is expected to undergo major changes after the election.

Dividing up power
The city's power is divided among 55 councillors and seven independent administrations, one of which, the Finance Administration, is automatically controlled by the mayor.

The remaining six will be divided between the parties depending on their performance, with one of their top candidates taking the place of deputy mayor at the head of the administration.

This is where things get complicated. After the votes are counted and converted into seats, the parties in different election alliances combine their seats. The alliance with 28 seats or more gets to select the mayor and the remaining administrations are divided according to the so-called d'Hondt method.

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

This process is complex and before the final results are known, parties need spreadsheets and computer models to predict which will get to choose which administration in which order, all according to the various possible outcomes.

Roughly speaking, a party earns an administration for every seven of the 55 council seats it earns. But with a number of prestigious paid positions on boards council-run organisations also up for grabs, this calculation is best used as a rule of thumb.

Skipping forward, it looks like the right-wing block of parties may earn enough seats to earn two administrations up from the one, the Culture and Leisure Administration, which is currently led by Venstre's Pia Allerslev.

A new direction
The Copenhagen Post has learned that Venstre are particularly keen on controlling the Traffic and Environment Administration that is currently held by SF, while DF could seek to take the Integration and Employment Administration from Radikale.

With Venstre being more car-friendly than SF, and DF likely to want to make cuts to integration services and programs, these outcomes could divert Copenhagen from the direction taken over the past four years.

The wild card is the Radikale, which has yet to state which bloc it will support. Its decision could tip the balance of power either way in exchange for board positions or an administration.

But for now, it's too early to know anything certain and the city's residents will have to wait at least until the early morning before finding out who will guide the city for another four years.

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