Political drama as parties carve up power in City Hall
The polls closed and the people spoke, but in Copenhagen the battle for political control has only just begun.
At stake are seven administrations that are divided between the parties according to their electoral success and the collective size of their political alliance.
The first decision was made late Tuesday night, when Mayor Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne) secured a majority with Enhedslisten and Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) to stay on in the top spot.
The opposition bloc – Venstre, Konservative, Liberal Alliance and Dansk Folkeparti (DF) – could have been second in line to choose an administration, but first they needed to convince centrist Radikale to join them and tip the balance of power in their favour.
Without Radikale, the bloc had enough seats to secure control of two administrations that would be given to the two largest parties, Venstre and DF.
To gain Radikale’s support, Venstre offered to let Radikale take control of the coveted Traffic and Environment Administration (TEA) in exchange for handing over control of the Integration and Employment Administration to DF.
Radikale scupper opposition plan
But while the TEA is highly prized, Radikale could not bear to let the anti-immigration DF take over the city’s sensitive integration policies, and its lead candidate, Anne Mee Allerslev, declined.
With Radikale now supporting the left-wing, Enhedslisten, as the second-largest party in the 'red bloc', moved in and took control of the TEA.
Enhedslisten had long expressed an interest in controlling the administration and its policies – increased focus on public transport and cycling – stand in start contrast to the right wing, which argues that that motorists are being forced out of the city.
“I hope that both Frank Jensen and Anna Mee Allerslev are aware that this is going to have fatal consequences for Copenhagen and its ability to attract businesses,” Venstre’s mayoral candidate Pia Allerslev, the current deputy mayor of culture and leisure, told Politiken newspaper.
But Radikale was unrepentant.
“We pursued the best result and co-operation with everyone,” Anna Mee Allerslev wrote on Twitter. “But when Venstre and DF made it an ultimatum that DF take control of integration and employment, we made a good deal with Socialdemokraterne, Enhedslisten and SF. We are happy about it. But it was Venstre’s choice to put DF in charge of integration – not ours.”
The city now awaits Venstre’s decision about which of the remaining administrations – culture and leisure, children and youth, social affairs, health and care, and employment and integration – it is going to choose.
Sources inside City Hall tell The Copenhagen Post that Venstre could take several days to make a decision and until then the remaining parties can only sit on their hands and wait.
Once Venstre does make up its mind, the next in line to choose will be Radikale, followed by SF and DF before Socialdemokraterne picks up the leftover administration.