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04/12/2016

Danish far right party wins in EU elections, doubles mandate

EU Elections 2014

Danish far right party wins in EU elections, doubles mandate

People's Party candidate advert. Copenhagen, 2009. [Greg McMullen/Flickr]

The far-right Eurosceptic Danish People’s Party has won 26.7% of the votes and becoming by far the biggest Danish party in the Parliament with four seats. The party has doubled its mandates since 2009.  

Meanwhile, the two biggest parties in the Danish parliament, the Social Democrats (at 19.1%) and the Liberals (16.7%) both had poor showings, each losing a seat, leaving them at three and two seats, respectively. The Greens lost one seat, while the Conservatives, the Social Liberals and a left-wing Eurosceptic party together make up Denmark’s 13 mandates.

The Danish People’s Party has looked to Britain’s UKIP for inspiration, calling for less EU influence over Danish matters, an end to ‘benefits tourism’ and tougher border controls. After Sunday, UKIP, the Danish People’s Party and France’s National Front are the three most successful eurosceptic parties in this Parliament election. But the three parties are unlikely to work together in the same group, as the Danish People’s Party has decided to seek influence via the European Conservatives and Reformists’ group of Tory MEPs.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said she was unhappy with the result for the Social Democrats.

“Congratulations to the Danish People’s Party. You got a great result. But with many votes comes a great responsibility. And now it will be interesting to see whether the party will use its votes to fight social dumping as they have promised, or if they will keep saying one thing and then doing something else. Danish People’s Party – we will be watching you,” Thorning-Schmidt said.

‘Overwhelming’ interest

Though the voter turnout in Denmark went down by around 3% to 56.3%, Derek Beach, EU researcher at Aarhus University, told the newspaper Jyllands-Posten that interest in the Parliament elections in the media and among voters this year had been “overwhelming” and “unprecedented”.

The researcher noted that the number of TV debates with the MEP candidates has exceeded the number of debates ahead of general elections, and the campaigning likewise started much earlier, in early Spring.

“I think the Parliament has been covered enough compared to its importance for Denmark and Danish politics,” he said.

Background

Far-right parties were expected to make significant gains in the next EU Parliament.

The National Front, which led EU election polls in France were expected to send 24 MEPs to the European Parliament, and eyeing a vice-president role in a brand new far-right EU Parliamentary grouping.

The Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), the French Front national (FN), the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the Belgian Flemish Interest (VB) and the Slovak National Party (SNS) are all expected to be part of it.

A minimum of 25 MEPs from seven nationalities is needed to form a parliamentary group, according to the European parliament’s rules of procedures.

Further Reading

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