Europe 2009 – Denmark


Simon blogs regularly at Polswatch – Ben

In 2009, Denmark will elect 13 representatives to the European Union Parliament, down from the 14 they elected in 2004. The Danes will vote using the d’Hondt method of proportional representation, similar to a large number of European electorates. The Danish system differs however in that parties can only participate in the election if they received at least 2% of the vote in the previous Folketing (Danish Parliament) election or if they can acquire signatures from 2% of the electorate. This severely limits the number of parties that contest the election, with only nine parties running in this year’s ballot, all of which (apart from one) were on the ballot in 2004.

The 2004 European elections saw this result:

  • Social Democrats – 32.6% – 5 seats
  • Venstre – 19.4% – 3 seats
  • Conservative People’s Party – 11.3% – 1 seat
  • June Movement – 9.1% – 1 seat
  • Socialist People’s Party – 8% – 1 seat
  • Danish People’s Party – 6.8% – 1 seat
  • Danish Social Liberal Party – 6.4% – 1 seat
  • People’s Movement Against the EU – 5.2% – 1 seat
  • Christian Democrats 1.3% – 0 seats

The list of parties this year are extremely similar to that of 2004, although the Christian Democrats will not be running in the elections, whilst the Liberal Alliance will be after they passed the electoral threshold in the last Folketing election. Here is how the land lies for each of these parties.

Social Democrats (Party of European Socialists): Although the Social Democrats will remain the largest party in Denmark this year it looks extremely likely that they will drop dramatically from their highs of 2004. Polling has the Social Democrats around the 26% – 27% mark, which will possibly bring them down to 4 seats this year.

Venstre (European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party): The current governing party in Denmark (in Coalition with the Conservative People’s Party with support of the Danish People’s Party), Venstre is Denmark’s largest centre/right party (although the word Venstre literally means Left). In 2004 Venstre performed poorly, pulling only 19% of the vote. It looks like the party will increase that vote this year, possibly adding a seat to their list.

Conservative People’s Party (European People’s Party): The junior partner in the current Danish Government the CPP look likely to hold steady in this year’s vote, giving them one seat in the EU Parliament.

June Movement (The June Movement): The less sceptical of the two Euro-sceptic parties, the June movement has performed well in past Denmark EU elections, taking 9% of the vote in 2004. However, similar to other countries it looks as though the June Movement’s vote will drop in 2009, probably denying them a seat.

Socialist People’s Party (Greens/European Free Alliance): The SPP in Denmark incorporates both Denmark’s Socialist and Green movements and looks as though it will perform well in 2009 (numbers ranging from 12% to 17%), giving the party 1 – 2 seats this year.

Danish People’s Party (Union for Europe of the Nations): The social conservative, nationalist DPP looks as though it will increase its vote in 2009 based on current polling. However, this will probably not lead to an extra seat for the party.

Danish Social Liberal Party (European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party): A centre based party; the DSLP is an historical splinter group from Venstre. In 2009 it looks likely to have a slight drop in its vote from 2004, which could lose the DSLP its seat, although this is unclear.

People’s Movement Against the EU (The June Movement): Traditionally the smaller of the Euro-sceptic parties, the People’s Movement Against the EU looks likely to overtake the June List in 2009, although not enough to add to its one seat.

Liberal Alliance (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe): The only party that did not run in 2004, the Liberal Alliance is a right wing splinter party formed in 2007. In the 2007 federal elections they won 5 seats, but have since collapsed (with three members leaving the party) and look like they will be obliterated in 2009.

Overall, it looks as though the status of the Danish contingent in the European Parliament will stay very similar to what was sent in 2004, with the possible exception of the loss of a seat for the Social Democrats, to be picked up either by Venstre or the Socialist People’s Party.

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  1. Hey Ben & co – will you be blogging the results as they come in? I imagine they wont start coming in until mid-Saturday morning EST.

  2. The first results (Netherlands) will be known around 7:30am-8:00am tomorrow morning. Almost everyone votes electronically there so it only takes a few hours to count the entire country. I imagine the UK results will take longer to count, and remember that most countries won’t go to the polls until Saturday and Sunday – it’s only the UK, Netherlands and Ireland who go before then (the Czechs vote Friday and Saturday).

  3. Last time there was an embargo on reporting the results until all countries had voted (although I think at least one country broke the rules and reported results early). Is that not the case this time?

  4. Really? I don’t remember that; I was in the Netherlands at the time and we got the results that night as always happens.

    Oh wait, I see it was the Netherlands who broke the embargo! Ha! They avoided court action by saying that the rules didn’t say anything about providing progressive results as long as the final results were not announced.

    We’ll see if that happens again this time.

  5. The Netherlands will repeat its actions of the 2004 elections and release provisional results the same night.

    While I understand the logic behind holding all results until everyone else has voted, it rests on two assumptions which I would argue are false:

    1) Voters are voting on European issues (mostly, they’re voting on national issues);

    2) That voters are influenced by votes from other countries. I highly doubt that any such influence would be enough to shift seats.

    The best solution, in my opinion, would be to have all countries vote on the same day and declare this a Europe-wide public holiday to ensure everyone gets the chance to make it to the ballot box.

    So if most of the results won’t be announced until late Sunday in Europe, that will be early Monday morning in Australia. It’s a good thing we have a public holiday then!

  6. I agree Europe should vote on the same day. The as the vast majority vote on Sundays, Europe should vote on a Sunday. Make it a public holiday only for those who vote (probably too hard to do).

  7. I don’t see why it can’t be a public holiday for all – it’s not like Easter and Christmas are only for Christians. Europe Day is 9 May, so maybe the ballot should be moved to then; celebrate the founding of the EU, and vote. Admittedly, not everyone celebrates the fact that there’s an EU, but the same goes for all other public holidays.

    In other news, I hear that the Dutch are voting with paper ballots for the first time in ages due to concerns about security of the electronic voting machines. This means that the results will take a lot longer to come through than I stated earlier in this thread.

  8. I’ll try to liveblog when results come in. However I remember reading somewhere that the UK wouldn’t be counting the European votes until Sunday. Although this would still mean results coming out before voting closes in the vast majority of the Union.

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