Danish elections : The empire strikes back

While France is one more time the hostage of strikes which reasons I can’t possibly manage to clarify to my foreign friends, Denmark’s parliamentary elections have just taken place yesterday following a record short campaign for French or US standards: a month !

As expected the current prime minister has saved his job and will start his 3d mandate. The exceptional economic situation experienced by the country during the last 5 years has been central in convincing the voters to re-appoint his liberal-conservative (V+C) coalition. This despite the sharp critics around the very Atlantist foreign policy pursued, the increasingly suspicious asylum and immigration policy influenced by the far-right Party of Danish People (Dansk Folkeparti – DF) and its populist leader: Pia Kjærsgaard or the concern around the state of the public health system, which does not live up to the Welfare State’s standards of a Nordic social democracy.

Paradoxically, while the decision made by Anders Fogh to organize the elections so early ambitioned to lower the influence of the DF over political agenda, the opposite has happened, as indicated by the large smile on Pia’s face all the evening (*sigh*)


The rise in the polls of a newly formed party, Ny Alliance (Y), an “elitist and Creative Class, bourgeois-humanist” party according to the center right Berlingske daily, whose popular (but superficial the critics would add) leader Naser Khader had ambition to replace DF in a governmental coalition and beyond to undermine the “block politics”, has failed to materialized. This is partly due to a range of blatant tactical mistakes during the campaign and a lack of depth in their program. Ny Alliance reached 10% in the polls a few weeks ago and scored a pathetic 2,8% at the end of the day . Consequently, DF have reinforced their relative influence (+1 mandate at 25 while the Venstre lost 6 at 46) and could actually requests one or several minister portfolios. No need to say that Pia Kjærsgaard is less than willing to open her arms to Y whose 5 mandates aren’t even needed to ensure a majority at the single-chamber parliament.


It seems to me that A. Fogh’s Venstre (and C) group, building up on their documented experience and results, has been able to convince the population that they still are the best, most professional and skillful team available as well as the most trustworthy one to run the economy and ensure continuous economic development . This was remarkably illustrated by the slogan chosen for their communication: “Vi kan gøre det endnu bedre”(aka. We can make it EVEN better) . At first , I found it unambitious, “petit-bourgeois” but after discussing with friends I think it was rooted in a profound understanding of people’s psychology and expectations regarding the relations of politics with their lives.


p.s: Bref message á l’attention du journal Le Monde qui se distingue encore par son incurie journalistique : Anders Fogh vient bien entendu d’être reconduit pour la seconde fois, et non pas la 3eme, au poste de 1er ministre comme l’annonce la “correspondance” (sic) . Il fut en effet d’abord élu en 2001, puis reélu en 2005 et donc en 2007.


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Let this diversity of opinions be propounded to, and laid before him; he will himself choose, if he be able; if not, he will remain in doubt. "Che non men che saver, dubbiar m' aggrata." ["I love to doubt, as well as to know."-- Dante, Inferno, xi. 93] for, if he embraces the opinions of Xenophon and Plato, by his own reason, they will no more be theirs, but become his own. Who follows another, follows nothing, finds nothing, nay, is inquisitive after nothing. "Non sumus sub rege; sibi quisque se vindicet." ["We are under no king; let each vindicate himself." --Seneca, Ep.,33]"
Montaigne - Essais I, XXVI, Of The Education of Children
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