Friday, 19 June 2015

My analysis of deferred elections (from 18/06/2015) and of the 2015 Danish general election

The result from the deferred local election(caused by the death of candidates after the close of nominations but before polling day) held yesterday that had a Green Party candidate was as follows:

Mole Valley DC, Holmwoods: Liberal Democrat 804/768 (50.2%, +24.7% ), Conservative 492/458 (30.7%, +2.1%), UKIP 201/180 (12.5%, -19.3%), Green 105/78 (6.6%, -0.7%).

The strong Lib Dem advance in Holmwoods, located in one of a tiny handful of seats where they finished second in last month's general election despite never having won it in recent memory (the others were West Dorset, Bosworth, Maidstone & The Weald, South East Cambridgeshire, the Cotswolds, North Wiltshire, and North East Hampshire), is likely to have been a result of the absence of a Labour candidate in this deferred election. They also won a seat from UKIP (their councillor, Stephen Musgrove, who won last year, resigned for family reasons) due to UKIP not having the 'Euro elections' effect this time around.

In the midst of all this, Denmark held its general election-and it showed up quite a surprise.

The Social Democrats gained 3 seats when I was expecting them to lose seats, although this was largely at the expense of their allies, the Social Liberals and the Socialist People's Party, who both lost 9 seats each (given they had won 17 and 16 seats respectively in 2011, their loss is substantial). Their loss was unsurprising due to collusion in passing neoliberal policies and giving tax breaks to wealthier citizens of Denmark; the Socialist People's Party withdrew from government but did so too late. The Red-Green Alliance, more left-wing than them, was set to make strong gains but only gained 2 seats due to a new Danish green party, The Alternative, striding onto the scene. The Alternative gained 9 seats from a standing start and unsurprisingly, it usually polled well in districts where the Red-Green Alliance polled well and where the Socialist People's Party used to have strong support (its best result was in Copenhagen Norrebro, Copenhagen's answer to London's Hackney in political and cultural terms, where the Red-Greens topped the poll).

The right-wing bloc overall won more seats but it was the Danish People's Party (Denmark's equivalent of UKIP) and the Liberal Alliance, both of which are Eurosceptic, who gained seats; the less Eurosceptic Venstre (Denmark's main centre-right party; ironically Venstre means 'left' in Danish!) and Conservative People's Party both lost seats and Venstre was pushed into third place overall for the first time in 25 years.

However, the four right-wing parties overall have 90 seats, compared to the five left-wing parties' total of 85. Thus, despite her party winning more seats and Venstre losing seats, Helle Thorning Schmidt has resigned as Danish Prime Minister-and Lars Lokke Rasmussen is likely to take over given the Danish People's Party's reluctance to lead government.

My position is that there has been a strong shift towards Euroscepticisim and populism in Denmark, and an increasing rejection of older, more established parties of Denmark and conservatism itself within the younger population. Even though Denmark has not been hit as badly by the Great Recession as many other European countries, the perceived threat of increasing control from Brussels has nevertheless spread to much of the electorate, especially in rural areas and small towns where the Danish People's Party polled strongly. The threat of TTIP was almost certainly another factor in the increased support for the Red-Green alliance, who are not only very left-wing but also anti-EU (they cooperate with the People's Movement Against the EU in European elections in Denmark) and the Alternative due to TTIP's serious threat to environmental protection within the European Union. To a lesser extent, we are also seeing similar shifts in Britain, although without proportional representation this cannot be accurately reflected yet.


1 comment:

  1. De Grønne was the Danish Green party. It was founded in October 1983. It was a founding member of the European Green Party; however in 2008 the party was expelled from the EGP. In December 2014 the party was dissolved. Some former members are trying to form a new Danish Green party - Det Grønne Parti i Danmark. The Socialist People's Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti, SF) is a member of the EGP, but I think it is wrong to call them 'the Danish Greeb Party', just as the Gibralter Liberal Forum was a EGP member.