LearnDanishwith Us!

Start Learning!

Danish Language Blog

Something is brewing in the state of Denmark Posted by on Jun 12, 2015 in Politics

If you’re visiting Danmark these days, you’ll probably notice two things: 1. Vejret er dejligt [vare-eth ar die-leet] (the weather is nice/lovely). 2. Gaderne er fulde af valgplakater. (The streets are full of election posters.)

”Left” and ”right”! The parties SF and Venstre on typical election posters.

”Left” and ”right”! The parties SF and Venstre on typical election posters. (Photo by Bjørn A. Bojesen.)

On May 27th, plakatophængerne (the poster ”hangers”) hurried to put up huge photos of politikere (politicians) all over the country. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish statsminister (prime minister), had just announced the date for valget [valyeth] (the election): 18. juni. What’s it all about?

• in Denmark, each regering (government) has a period of 4 years. Before that time is up, the PM has to udskrive valg (call an election).

• in folketingsvalget (the general election), 179 people are elected to occupy the seats at Folketinget (the Danish Parliament) in Copenhagen

stemmerne (the votes) decide how much influence the various partier (parties) will get, and who will be the next statsminister

Traditionally, there are two political blokke (”blocks”) in Denmark – rød blok (red block) is ”left wing” (a bit more socialist), while blå blok (blue block) is ”right wing” (a bit more conservative or liberal). The current ”red” PM (from the party Socialdemokraterne) is challenged by the ”blue” Lars Løkke (from the party Venstre). (Løkke used to be PM, but he’s also been accused of spending his party’s money to buy things for himself, so he’s a bit controversial!)

On a Danish stemmeseddel (ballot paper), each party has its own letter code. Here are the Danish parties, from venstre (left) to højre (right):

RØD BLOK: Enhedslisten (The Unity List; letter code Ø), SF = Socialistisk Folkeparti (Socialistic Popular Party; F), Socialdemokraterne (The Social Democrats; A), Det Radikale Venstre (The Radical Left; B) – BLÅ BLOK: Liberal Alliance (Liberal Alliance; I), Venstre (Left; V), Det Konservative Folkeparti (The Conservative Popular Party; C), Dansk Folkeparti (Danish Popular Party; O).

Helle Thorning-Schmidt (photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License)

Helle Thorning-Schmidt (photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License)

I won’t bother you with all the details. 🙂 It must suffice to say that Danish elections have often been a battle between Socialdemokraterne (the traditional party for workers) and Venstre (the traditional party for farmers – confusing that a ”right wing” party is called Left, don’t you think?)

Lars Løkke (photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License)

Lars Løkke (photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License)

Whether or not you’ve watched the Danish tv serial Borgen (”The Fortress”) – which is broadcast in the UK – you probably know that politikere love talking… The ”talk of the town” in Denmark is often skat (taxes), indvandring (immigration) and how (not) to help de arbejdsløse (the unemployed). Dansk Folkeparti has become popular among Danes who want less immigration. (Unfortunately, the debate has often been very ugly!)

 

This year’s valg is quite exciting, as there is a brand new party on board – Alternativet (The Alternative; letter code Å). I talked to Peter Christensen, who’s a party member:

A poster for the new party Alternativet. The sign says: ”100 % renewable energy.” (Disclaimer: This is not a political blog; Alternativet is covered more in depth because it is something new.)

A poster for the new party Alternativet. The sign says: ”100 % renewable energy.” (Disclaimer: This is not a political blog; Alternativet is covered more in depth because it is something new.)

What is Alternativet?

Alternativet is a political movement where everything comes nedefra (from the bottom). We forge our ideas and positions at politiske laboratorier (political labs) where all kinds of people are invited to participate, all over the country. It’s a bit like open-source software.

Is it a ”left wing” or a ”right wing” party?

We don’t want to place ourselves in any ”block”. We’re against that kind of static thinking. Alternativet is a dynamic party. We’ll cooperate with those people who support our ideas.

What does Alternativet want?

Our three main goals are ecological, social and economic bæredygtighed (sustainability).

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author:Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.