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Author Topic: Danish Local and Regional Elections, 21 Nov 2017  (Read 4424 times)
Diouf
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« on: October 28, 2017, 05:14:27 am »

After a few minor elections around Europe, the campaign for the main event on this year's electoral calendar is starting today. On 21 November there are elections in Denmark's 98 municipalities and 5 regions. With around a year to the next General election, we will get a decent indication of the state of play for the parties. How will the two Blocs fare in terms of combined share of the votes? Will the increased Social Democrat-DPP cooperation materialize at the local and regional level? Will the huge Liberal to DPP movement from the 2015 General election be repeated at the local level? Could the Alternative make a breakthrough in the cities in their first local elections and find themselves in their first positions of real power in Copenhagen and Aarhus? How will the New Right do in their first electoral test? Will the Conservatives remain a major local party with many mayors?




The last elections in 2013 were held at the height of unpopularity for the Thorning-Schmidt government, which meant that the Blue Bloc parties combined increased their share by around 4% while the Red Bloc declined by a similar amount. As the biggest Blue party in most municipalities, this Blue Bloc wave helped a lot of new Liberal mayors into power. The Liberals increased their number of mayors from 31 to 48 and gained a regional chairmanship as well, while the Social Democrats lost 16 mayors.

For quite a while, the Liberals have feared that the 2013 situation will be reversed and that they will lose a significant number of councillors and mayors. However, in recent months the national polls have improved for the Blue Bloc parties and the polling average now shows a 50/50 tie. While this is still a worse situation than the 53/47 lead they had in 2013, it means that the Liberals now hope that they might not lose all of their 2013 gains. The party itself seems destined to lose a bunch of a councillors, but if they can keep the losses nationwide at 2-3% and still end up ahead or ≈equal to the Social Democrats in terms of mayors, they will be quite satisfied indeed. On the other hand, if they take a steep drop and end up closer to 20% than 25% while losing 15-20 mayors, it could start a new spiral of negative stories and focus on the future of leader and PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 04:42:44 am by Diouf »Logged

Diouf
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2017, 05:53:01 am »

The 2013 results

Local elections

Social Democrats 29.5% (-1.1%) 773 councillors (-28)
Liberals 26.6 % (+1.8%) 767 (+68)
DPP 10.1% (+2.0%)   255 (+69)
Conservatives 8.6 % (-2.4%) 205 (-57)
Red-Green Alliance 6.9 % (+4.6%) 119 (+105)
SPP 5.6 % (-8.9%)   116 (-224)
Social Liberals 4.8 % (+1.1%) 62 (+12)
Liberal Alliance 2.9 % (+2.6%) 33 (+32)
Others 5.0% (-0.3%) 114 (-1)

Mayors

Liberals 48 mayors (+17)
Social Democrats 33 (-16)
Conservatives 13 (+1)
Social Liberals 1   (+1)
SPP 1 (-1)
Local lists 2 (-2)

Regional elections

Social Democrats 30.1% (-0.1%) 68 councillors (=)
Liberals 27.0% (+2.7%) 61 (+7)
DPP 10.9% (+1.8%) 23 (+4)
Red-Green Alliance 7.8% (+5.2%) 15 (+13)
Conservatives 7.2% (-2.9%) 15 (-5)
Social Liberals 5.4% (+1.5%) 8 (+1)
SPP 5.3% (-10.0%) 10 (-22)
Liberal Alliance 3.0% (+2.8%) 5 (+5)
Others 3.3% (+1.0%) 0 (-3)

Regional chairmen

Social Democrats 3 (-1)
Liberals 2 (+1)
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Diouf
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2017, 01:28:20 pm »

Until the election, I will try to look at the election prospects for the parties as well as some of the most interesting races. Starting out today with Frederiksberg, in the centre of Copenhagen.



In the 2015 general election, former Conservative party leader Lars Barfoed failed to get elected as an MP in Frederiksberg, thereby ending a 100-year long streak for the party. Now they could face the end of a similar streak in terms of local politics, where the Conservatives have held the Mayor post since 1909. The Conservatives are under pressure from many different sources at once.

There have been a general decline in recent local elections, in 2009 they lost their absolute majority and in 2013 they lost two seats more. This can be explained by a general decline for the Conservative party as well as the fact that some wealther and well-educated voters are trending towards Red Bloc parties. This is very visible when you look at the 2015 general election results, where 60% voted for Red Bloc parties, while only 5-6% chose the Conservatives. And while the Conservative prospects have improved somewhat since 2015 nationally, this has largely been due to a significant focus on law and order from Conservative leader and Minister of Justice Søren Pape Poulsen. While that is effective nationally, it might not play that well in Frederiksberg. Famous brain scientist Peter Lund Madsen was originally running for the Conservatives, but declined to do so when Pape started another round of tough talk about how it should be much harder to be in prison, somethings that contradict all of Madsen's research on how to improve the mental state of people. Furthermore, Frederiksberg is the municipality in the country with the biggest shift in electorate since 2013; 33.9% of the electorate is new. This includes persons moving there from other municpalities, those turning 18, immigrants who have lived there 3 years etc. A significant part of them will be students, well-educated persons and immigrants. If the Red Bloc parties can mobilize these voters, then there could be significant changes in the council. It could help the Alternative to make a strong debut here.

The current Conservative (10 seats) mayor Jørgen Glenthøj was elected on a coalition with the Liberals (2), the Social Liberals (2) and the Liberal Alliance (1), which combined holds 15 of 25 seats. But the Social Liberals have announced that they will no longer support Glenthøj and have instead turned towards the Social Democrats. This makes the majority as narrow as possible, although it might help Glenthøj to lure DPP into supporting him. But this is not DPP-friendly territory, and in 2013, they only just won a seat with their 4%.

The Conservatives are also challenged from within their own coalition. The Liberal and Liberal Alliance local leaders are both MPs, which have increased their attention quite a bit. Liberal Alliance's Laura Lindahl became MP in 2015, while Liberal Jan E. Jørgensen became an MP in 2011, but has received a lot of attention due to his strong pro-EU position and his reluctance towards the hard policies on immigration. So while the Conservative list still includes some household names, former MP Helle Sjelle, Quick Step sporting director Brian Holm and charter company director Stig Elling, the party could very well lose a significant number of votes to the strong Liberal and Liberal Alliance frontrunners.

Most bookies have odds around 50/50 for the Glenthøj to stay as mayor. It will be hard for the Conservatives to avoid losing votes and seats, but they are still very likely to be the biggest Blue party, and if the Blue Bloc retains a narrow majority Glenthøj have a good shot at staying on, despite the ambitions from the two Liberal partners.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 04:42:58 am by Diouf »Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2017, 04:23:58 am »

Great posts, Diouf!
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Diouf
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2017, 09:42:02 am »

Copenhagen Chaos and Alternative threats make it an uphill battle for Social Liberals



The Social Liberals have had the worst possible prelude to the campaign as their Copenhagen Mayor for Employment and Integration Anna Mee Allerslev (right in the picture) has dominated political coverage with her spectacular use of public resources on her 300-guest wedding reception at Copenhagen City Hall, an arrogant style of leadership that has alienated much of the local party as well as her nepotism in pushing the administration to deal with a building licensing case for a close friends' company, which had rebuild her apartment and hosted her birthday for free. After weeks of coverage, Allerslev finally resigned this week, but the case has further damaged the party in their strongest municipality.

In 2013, the Social Liberals were still pretty high in the national polls with 7.7% and made (limited) progress across most of the country with a national result around 5%. The strongest municipalities were urban places like Copenhagen (11.2%), Frederiksberg (9.5%) and Aarhus (8.9%) and wealthy areas in Northern Zealand such as Egedal (10.7%), Lyngby-Taabæk (8.0%), Fredensborg (7.9%) and Gentofte (7.4%). The biggest exception is Rebild in Northern Jutland, a mix of small towns, rural areas and pendlers to closeby city Aalborg. Here the Social Liberal Leon Sebbelin increased the party's share to 8.8% and 3 seats. And as both the Liberals and Social Democrats declined a lot with unpopular leaders, Sebbelin managed to become mayor with the support of the Social Democrats, a local left-wing list, Conservatives and SPP. In addition to Sebbelin's post, the party won full-time cabinet positions in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense.

However, currently the party is only at 5.6% in national polls, and this time the Alternative is running in their first local elections. The Alternative could make significant damage to the Social Liberals in their urban strongholds, especially Copenhagen where Allerslevs' cases have made things even more difficult. In Rebild, the situation is unpredictable with a lot of internal troubles in the big parties, but the significant local list will not support Sebbelin again, so it is not impossible that the Social Liberal could lose their four most prominent posts. However, even if the party was to finish behind the Alternative in the cities where they currently hold cabinet positions, their good relationsship with the Social Democrats could help them to hold on to these positions. The Social Liberals could make progress in towns like Holbæk and Herning with strong local leaders, and in Frederiksberg they could be in a strong position of influence if the power moves to the centre-left.
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2017, 06:43:51 am »

Could a Christian resurrection start out west?

Yesterday, the Ministry of the Interior announced that the Christian Democrats had been approved to run in the next general election as they had collected the necessary number of signatures (around 20.000). That makes them the 11th, and probably last, party to be approved to run, but their chances of getting elected does not look promising. Since they fell below the threshold in 2005, their vote share has decreased steadily to the 0.8% they received in the 2015 general election. No polls suggest they will do any better at the next election, and their non-entity leader Stig Grenov is repeating the same vague and vacuous statements about them being the party of families. However, out west the party has a ray of hope.



The charismatic principial of a Christian boarding school, Kristian Andersen, is a popular figure in the Ringkøbing-Skjern municipality at the Jutlandic West Coast. At the 2013 local elections, he won 1 967 personal votes, only 20 less than eventual Liberal mayor Iver Enevoldsen, and increased the party's share of the votes from 7.1% to 9.7%. In an otherwise good local election year for the Liberals, Andersen made inroads among Liberal voters, which helped cause the surprising majority loss for the Liberals. In fact, there were serious negotiations among all the other parties of locking the eternal rulers from the Liberals out of power and make Kristian Andersen mayor. In the end, the DPP chose to side with the Liberals and Enevoldsen became mayor, while Andersen became deputy mayor. His increased popularity was also visible at the 2015 General election, where he more than doubled his number of personal votes in the Western Jutland multi-member constituency from 1 772 to 3 860.

Now with the Liberals under pressure at the national level, Andersen has a decent possibility to bring the Christian Democrats a long-awaited win. The Liberals in Ringkøbing-Skjern seem divided, and despite Hans Østergaard narrowly winning the role as Liberal leader, he and his competitor Lennart Qvist are campaigning as a "joint leadership". It would not be surprising to see the Liberals lose further votes and seats, and Andersen could very well be the personal vote topscorer. The Social Democrat Søren Elbæk would also like to be mayor, but all the left-wing parties could conceivably agree to support Andersen as mayor again, so the main question is whether a majority can be formed without Liberals and DPP (53% and 16/29 seats combined in 2013). Perhaps the DPP could even swing sides, although they are running in a electoral alliance with the Liberals (to avoid vote wasting).

All eyes will be at Ringkøbing-Skjern for Christian Democrats on election night. Currently, half of their 6 local councillors are elected there, and a Christian Democrat mayor could inject new life into the party. Furthermore, Andersen could perhaps push the party closer to winning seats at the next general election if his profile increases further in Wester Jutland. A party can enter parliament without hitting the 2% national threshold, if they win a multimember constituency seat. This requires 5-6% in Western Jutland, a lot more than the 2.3% the party achieved there in 2015. But with a popular mayor, that feat might actually be possible.
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2017, 03:36:07 pm »

Liberal handball hero tries to unseat Conservative mayor in the heart of Jutland



Viborg is a large municipality right in the centre of Jutland, which is both high in terms of area (2nd) and population (9th). A bit less than half of the 100.000 citizens live in the town of Viborg, that has been a very significant historic city which its well-kept cathedral and old town centre reminds you of. Current Conservative leader and Minister of Justice Søren Pape Poulsen made his name here, when he became mayor in 2009. Pape had a great personal election and improved his party's share to 10.2%, and then convinced the Social Democrats and SPP to support him as mayor. 4 years later Pape's popularity increased further; he received a staggering 6 566 personal votes and the Conservatives won 16.8%, which allowed him to continue with the backing of the two red parties. However, in 2014 Pape Poulsen became Conservative leader nationally and therefore handed over the role as mayor to his party colleague, the much less known real estate agent Torsten Nielsen, who had only won 320 personal votes in 2013.



After being locked out of the mayor's office for several years, the Liberals are confident that they can take over the Mayor post with Ulrik Wilbek (top right) as lead candidate. Wilbek has been a highly succesfull handball coach with long reigns in charge of the Women's and Men's national team as well as the local Viborg team. He has previously been a council member for four years, so he is no beginner in the political game. The current Conservative mayor Torsten Nielsen (bottom right) hopes he can continue Pape's electoral successes, but it looks like a tough job. Perhaps the Social Democratic lead candidate, Per Møller Jensen (left), can help him stay in charge. Møller Jensen would also like to be mayor, but is likely to be squeezed a bit in the Liberal-Conservative battle. A poll by the local paper showed that 24% preferred Wilbek as mayor, 18% Nielsen and 9% Møller Jensen. But 38% still said don't know, which shows that many are still just tuning in to the election. A potential joker is the Social Liberals. They did not win any seats in 2013, but MEP Jens Rohde joined them from the Liberals during the term. Rohde won 2 025 personal votes as a Liberal in 2013, but he is not running this year due to the workload. However, his wife Katrine Rohde is running, and with her husband as a quite prominent campaigner, she could very well win a seat for the Social Liberals, which could end up being decisive.

Yours truly now lives in Viborg. I haven't made up my mind completely, but I am leaning towards the Liberals. I think Wilbek could buck the national Liberal trend, and increase the Liberal share by quite a bit. In the end, the battle is probably between Wilbek and Nielsen, and I think the question of legitimacy could end up being quite important. If the Conservatives fall back towards 10% and Nielsen is far behind Wilbek in personal votes, then he might seek an agreement with the Liberals and settle for a deputy mayor post or something similar. But if the party stays close the current level, then Nielsen could very well retain his post.
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2017, 04:55:10 pm »

New Right set to make promising debut



Local elections are generally tough for new parties, especially for one who faces their first campaign. However, the New Right seems better prepared than most and could end up with a decent result. The party has managed to built many local organizations quickly, and are running in 61 out of 98 municipalities. Furthermore, they have been very apt at convincing relatively household councillors to join them, either directly from other parties or those who had already become independents. Finally, they have found a handful of additional strong candidates.

Already before their first election, the party has 12 local councillors and 1 regional councillor. Holger Gorm Petersen has been a member of the local council in Vejle for more than 20 years for the DPP, and in 2013 he won an impressive 2 149 personal votes and was elected to both the local and regional council. He leads a strong list in Vejle, which also includes the leader of the New Right Youth, previously a fairly high-ranked Conservative Youth member, and young woman from a reality TV show. In Allerød, the New Right has absorbed the right-wing local list, New Allerød, which won 9.1% and two seats in 2013. In Gentofte, CEO and Liberal Alliance lead candidate in 2013, Poul V. Jensen, has joined the party, and after winning 706 personal votes four years ago, he should stand a decent chance of getting elected again. Finally, Mette Thiesen has joined the party from the Conservatives in Hillerød, where she finished second on the Conservative list in 2013 with 393 personal votes, only slightly less than party colleague Dorte Meldgaard who ended up as mayor. Like party leader Pernille Vermund, she ran for the Conservatives in North Zealand in the 2015 general election, where she won 1.657 personal votes.

The four mentioned above should have strong chances of getting re-elected under their new banner, and while the party likely won get close to 2% nationally, when they are only running in 2/3 of the country, they also have a couple of significant, new candidates who could bring good results. Jan Køpke Christensen, who leads the party's list in Aabenraa, was an MP for the Progress Party from 1989 to 1998 in addition to several years as a local and regional councillor. Rikke Andersen, running in Vordingborg, received relative prominence last year after she was sentenced for taking the law into her own hands by posting pictures of a flasher online, which cost her a higher fine than the flasher. Finally, a former notable local Progress Party councillor and furniture company owner, Frode Larsen, is heading a long New Right list in Hjørring.

While the party might not reach 13 councillors after the election, they should be able to win at least a handful of seats with the abovementioned names and perhaps a surprise seat in a place or two. Councillors elected under the New Right banner will be a valuable asset in the next general election, where it sounds like most of them will also run. These gives the party local bases with well-known faces several places in the country, and shows that they are more than just party leader Pernille Vermund.
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 02:17:34 pm »

SPP look to old leader for encouragement in quest for rebuilding



In 2013, the SPP had a horrid ride in the local and regional elections. The party lost 2/3 of their votes and councillors as they were feeling the voters' disappointment of their performance in government. The only encouragement was Mette Touborg in Lejre, who increased the SPP's share by 12.5% to 34.9% and safely maintained her Mayor post. However, Toubourg has since left her post to become director for one of the departments in Copenhagen municipality, and per the coalition agreement, the mayor role went to the Social Democrat deputy, which has left SPP without mayors.

They hope to have bottomed out in 2013, but it certainly does not look like SPP will see much progress if you consider the national polls, where they are slightly below the 5.7% they polled in 2013. Like the other red parties, the Alternative poses a significant threat in their traditional strongholds in the city. The party also has self-made challenges as they forbid MPs from being local councillors as well. This means that rising stars like Jakob Mark and Trine Torp cannot help the party to success locally. However, they do have one prominent candidate with a nationwide recognition; former SPP party leader and Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal is running as their lead candidate in Region Southern Denmark. Their lack of well-known faces means that Søvndal is used in posters around the country.

While SPP can probably except small rises or decreases in most places, it does seem certain that Søvndal will increase their share in Southern Denmark significantly. An early poll showed SPP rising from 4.5% to 7.6%, and with him as their main campaign figure, he should be able to lift the party to double digits. The question is whether Søvndal can help the red parties win the regional chairmanship, perhaps even for himself, in the traditionally blue Southern Denmark. Normally, the chance might not be very big, but a list of scandals regarding the previous Liberal regional chairman as well as a failed ambulance outsourcing could make it very close. Carl Holst had been chairman in the region and its predecessor since 2000, but ran for the general election in 2015 after which he was made Minister of Defence. However, he quickly had to resign from that role when it turned out that Holst had received a huge severance pay from the region, his newly appointed spin doctor had been employed in the region in a supposedly neutral civil servant role while de facto working as Holst's spin doctor, and Holst had run a quite lavish leader's department, which included 47 different newspaper subscriptions to him and his advisors. Holst was succeded as regional chairman by the 34-year old Stephanie Lose, who has had to fight a difficult situation when the ambulance provider went bankrupt and the region had to take over the outsourced services. However, Lose is generally seen to have done a decent job in cleaning up the mess, which might just give her four more years. Polls have shown a narrow blue lead, but the New Right, Liberal Alliance and the Alternative are all around the threshold, which could be decisive.
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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2017, 08:29:48 am »

How come the left seems to have such a large advantage in the regional elections? Even in a good year for the right like 2013 they only took two of the five regions. Is it because the regions' boundaries favour the left or is people more likely to vote for the left in the regional elections?

 
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Diouf
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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 01:55:40 pm »

How come the left seems to have such a large advantage in the regional elections? Even in a good year for the right like 2013 they only took two of the five regions. Is it because the regions' boundaries favour the left or is people more likely to vote for the left in the regional elections?


Great question!

I tried to look at it, and it does seem to be primarily the boundaries that that are favourable to the left. The margins of victory were quite clear in both Blue regions: 56.5 - 41.4% in Southern Denmark and 53.5% - 45.1% in Zealand. The Red victory in the Capital region was also quite clear with 53.2% - 42.7%, but especially in Northern Jutland it was tight 50.9%-48.7%, while Central Jutland was also closer than the two Blue regions 50.7% - 45.8%.

However, geographically the boundaries make decent sense, and the Blue Bloc drew up the plans for it at the time, so it is basically because Blue voters really dominate in Southern Jutland and Zealand.  But if you were to change it to favour the Blue bloc more in "a sensible way" it would be by pushing more Blue voters up into Northern Jutland, which is the smallest populationwise with 600.000 people. Adding the three Northwestern municipalities, Skive, Struer and Lemvig to Northern Jutland would probably be enough to flip it blue in 2013. But there's a sea between them and the rest of Northern Jutland, so it's not that sensible.

Perhaps the difference between the regions will change a bit this time. The abovementioned problems in Southern Denmark might make that tighter than normally, although the Blue are still favoured to hold on. And in Central Jutland, the long time Social Democrat chairman and Chairman of the association of Regions, Bent Hansen, is stepping down. He won 104 064 personal votes in 2013, the most of all. Without him, the Red Bloc might be a bit weaker than normally, although still clearly favoured to win.
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2017, 03:24:45 pm »

Wonderful Copenhagen for the Alternative, but (minor) cracks are appearing



The Alternative is headed for a triumphant local election debut with their candidates expected to do particularly well in the cities, Copenhagen in particular. Polls have shown them at 7% in Aarhus and around 10% in Copenhagen, which means that Niko Grünfeld (in the picture) is very likely to get a quite significant mayor post in Copenhagen. At the 2015 General election, the party won 11.15% in the Copenhagen multi-member constituency and 7-11% in all four Aarhus districts, so if they can mobilize their young, new voters for the local elections, they will do very well.

The party already has 8 local councillors, who defected to them from other parties, but none of them are even remotely well-known. The best-performing candidate in 2013 was Lea Herdal, who won 244 personal votes on the Social Democratic list in Allerød and was elected as councillor 14 out of 21. So unlike the New Right, they can't really bet on some established local names winning them seats. They have very few household names running across the country, so they are likely to focus on the overall green issues, which will probably net them decent amount of votes where they did well in 2015. In addition to urban areas, that is likely to be on some of the smaller islands, where they did decently, especially among the segment of small business owners in areas of ecological food production etc.

While the mood is still largely positive about the party in public, there have been signs in recent weeks of cracks emerging in the happy-go-lucky party. In Copenhagen, several members complained about a too top-down style in the local party leadership, and the local board narrowly survived a no-confidence vote. The criticism of concentration of power at the top has also crept into the parliamentary group, where some are concerned that the "boy band" of young male advisers and candidates (like Grünfeld) around party leader Uffe Elbæk is too influential. There is also hints of a clasic Green realos-fundis split. Group leader (chief whipish) Josephine Fock represents the former with her (relatively) pragmatic style after decades of work in trade unions, while political spokesperson Rasmus Nordquist, a former design teacher, belongs to the latter with focus on communicating clear, ambitious visions for the future. The struggle between the two was so intense, that they agreed to simultaneously resign from their posts, which has been taken over by less-known members of the parliamentary group. The splits are probably not mitigated by the fact that party leader Uffe Elbæk has already announced that he will retire after the next election, so the positioning play to take over is on-going. On top of the political problems, the party has organizational problems. It has been revealed that the party received 450.000DKK (60.000 euro) from accounts in tax havens, which they insist on keeping despite being very opposed to tax havens in their policies. Perhaps because they can't afford to pay them back as the party has had significant financial deficits in the last two years.
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2017, 01:34:11 pm »

Scandalized former mayor's new local list promises to shake things up in Northwestern Jutland



Skive municipality in Northwestern Jutland is a classic example of a municipality after the 2007 reform, where a red-leaning town (20.000 inhabitants) was merged with the blue-leaning rural areas around it. The new municipality has around 45.000 inhabitants, and have been lead by Liberals since 2007. However, the 2009 election was very close with both the Socialdemocrats and the Liberals receiving 37%, which meant that the two Social Liberal councillors were kingmakers. In the end, they chose the Liberal Flemming Eskildsen and in return both councillors came to head significant committees. The Social Democrat leader, and former mayor of Skive town, Per Jeppesen received a very high amount of personal votes, 6 443. However, his popularity soon took a dive, when he was caught in defrauding the local municipal arena, which he was director of, for 150.000 DKK (20.000 euro), primarily to pay off a case of sexual harassment to a former employee. Jeppesen resigned from local politics, and in 2013, the Social Democrats lost more than 10%. The Liberals and DPP won 16 of 27 seats, which meant the Liberal farmer Peder Christian Kirkegaard could become mayor.



But now Per Jeppesen (right in the picture) is back! Along with Knud Bjerrre (left in the picture), the leader of Skive theatre and former Liberal councillor, he has started a new local list, Skive-listen. Jeppesen is quite tough in his cricitism of the current austere mayor Kirkegaard, who is always emphasizing his farmer background in saving "for worse times". Jeppesen and Bjerre wants more investments and arrangements, particularly in Skive town, to turn around the falling inhabitant numbers. The list has created a lot of buzz, and is running the maximum amount of candidates, 31. Jeppesen states that he does not want to be mayor again, but that he hopes that Skive-Listen can remove the Liberal-DPP majority, and thereby either drag Kirkegaard towards more ambitious policies or elect a Social Democrat mayor.

The municipality could very well see quite different trends in Skive town and the rural areas around it. The new Skive-listen can probably make quite a breakthrough in the town, which will probably also trend towards the Social Democrats, while the new list is less likely to convince rural and small town citizens, who seem willing to stick with Kirkegaard. If the new list gets the deciding influence, it will be interesting to see whether the two party leaders, with backgrounds in two different parties, (and potential other elected councillors for the list) can agree in negotiations when it comes to choosing a mayor, and getting into positions of influence.
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 11:55:34 am »

Liberal Alliance looking for loyal candidates to manifest them in their heartlands



The local and regional elections in 2013 were the first real of its kind for the new party. In 2009, they did run in a few places, but all attention was on ensuring party leader Anders Samuelsen was elected in Horsens. Samuelsen won a seat, and kept the party going despite national polls at 0.0%. Shortly after they received their big breakthrough. In 2013, the party generally did best in urban areas and in wealthy areas in Northern Zealand, but there were quite a few instances of locally well-known candidates making breakthroughs in less likely areas.

However, many of the councillors won in the strongholds have left the party since 2013, often after big internal turmoil. In Copenhagen, the two councillors elected were in a constant fight and both ended up leaving the party (and so did the replacement when one of them left the city council), in Aarhus their only councillor has joined the New Right and looks likely to be elected an MP for them if they end above the threshold in the next general election, and in Gentofte their councillor joined the New Right as well. Therefore, the party does not really have a base in local politics in many of their strongholds, which can leave them susceptible to collapse if their government participation damages them further. Their main hope for a strong presence is 26-year old Alex Vanopslagh (in the picture), the former Liberal Alliance youth leader, who is running in Copenhagen. He seems to be running a good campaign in a city that fits the party, and with a steep decline by the Liberals, they could gain a lot of votes there. MP Laura Lindahl will do well in Frederiksberg. In Northern Zealand, Fredensborg should be good for them with notable names like movie instructor Tomas Villum Jensen and the PMs brother Knud Løkke Rasmussen.

In 2013, the party won 2.9% nationwide, which gave them 33 councillors. The result also meant that they were just below the threshold in many municipalities. In the polling average, they are at the same level as in 2013, 5.6%. This suggests that they will make small increases in most places, which could push them just above the threshold many places. Their goal is to be represented in half the country's 98 councils.
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2017, 03:29:37 pm »

The Red-Green Alliance set to manifest itself as national party



While the Red-Green Alliance remains a party with a strong support in urban areas, they managed to breakthrough nationwide in 2013. The party won just above 7% nationwide, councillors in 76 municipalities and all 5 regions. In 2013, the party was higher in the national polls due to the Thorning-Schmidt cabinet's unpopularity, but there is still some potential for progress in the local elections to hit the 8.5% they're at in the current polling average. Therefore, it seems realistic that the party can maintain their impressive status as a party with nationwide representation, and perhaps make their debut in places like Holstebro, Randers and Hillerød as well. Like the other Red Bloc parties, they face a threat from the Alternative in these elections, but I think the Red-Green Alliance will cope pretty well. They now have experienced councillors in many places, and the frequent electoral alliances with the Alternative will often be advantageous to them as well.

With a number of close polls, there has been a lot of focus on the party's chances of winning the Lord Mayor post in Copenhagen. And while the gap between the Social Democrats and the Red-Green Alliance is likely to be lower than the 8.3% in 2013, this has more to do with Social Democrat decline than Red-Green progress. In most polls in Copenhagen, the Red-Green Alliance is right at or slightly below their 2013 result of 19.5%. And while the Alternative perhaps could be convinced to choose a Red-Green Lord Mayor, none of the other parties seem likely to do the same. And their lead candidate Ninna Hedeager Olsen is not exactly boasting about her chances of becoming Lord Mayor. However, it seems very likely that the party will again get the powerful post as Mayor of Technics and Environment, which is the area under which roads, parking places, parks, environment etc. belongs. And with a very strong "Green Bloc" in Copenhagen City Council, the party can probably carry through quite a lot of their policies in this area.

In Copenhagen, Hedeager Olsen is not a particularly well-known name, so we could very well see a repeat of the 2013 result there, where the lead candidate does not get a lot more votes than several other candidates. Their current Mayor of Technics and Enviroment Morten Kabell is not running again. There most well-known local candidate is arguably Per Clausen (in the picture), who is a former MP, and is running again in Aalborg. In 2013, he won 4 641 personal votes and he looks set for another strong showing.
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2017, 02:29:45 pm »

Fragmented fun in Funen



In Southern Funen, we find the most fragmented council in the country in Svendborg municipality. In 2013, ten different parties and lists won seats in the 29-seat council, and the biggest party, the Liberals, only won 20.7% and 6 seats. Svendborg town is a traditional strong Social Democratic town with a big industrial base and a well-known harbour area, where Maersk has it origins. A significant part of that industry is no longer there, but with a big hospital and nursery nurse college, it is still a strong area for the Red Bloc parties. However, in the 2007 local reform, the town was merged with two surrounding rural areas, which has made the municipality a close-fought one, which has shifted between Social Democrat and Liberal mayors. In 2013, the Social Democrats and Liberals lost 12% and 8% respectively with the Red-Green Alliance and the DPP as the main beneficiaries. In the end, the Liberal Lars Erik Hornemann managed to become mayor with the support of DPP, the Conservatives, the Social Liberals, the Liberal Alliance and the local Svendborg list.

In local politics, where personalities matter a lot, both the major parties were hampered by weak, fairly unpopular lead candidates, which only ended up 3rd and 5th respectively on the personal votes list. Instead, three strong lead candidates from the other parties convinced many voters. The DPP, farmer Jens Munk, won the biggest amount of personal votes, while the Conservative Henrik Nielsen and Red-Green Jesper Kiel did very well too. Jens Munk is running again for DPP, but this time only as second on the list behind MP Dorthe Ullemose, whom the party hopes can further improve on their 2013 result. However, the three other DPP councillors elected in 2013 have all left the party since then, so the party must hope that the internal chaos will not affect too many voters.

DPP lead candidate Ullemose seems to lean towards the Social Democrats this time, which could very well end up being decisive. However, the Red-Green Alliance has said that they cannot support a Social Democrat mayor backed by the DPP, so the assembling of a majority will not be easy this time either. Perhaps the Conservative Henrik Nielsen could end up as a compromise candidate. He won 2 215 personal votes in 2013, and is likely to do even better this year. His election video has received a lot of buzz online as well: https://www.facebook.com/henrik.nielsen.98096721/videos/10155868326154696/
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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2017, 02:43:07 pm »

DPP aiming for local breakthrough with well-known faces



After a very strong general election in 2015 where the party ended up as the second-biggest party, the DPP is now aiming for a similar local breakthrough. The party is running a dozen MPs and several experienced councillors as lead candidates and hopes to strongly increase their 2013 result. Four years ago, the party won 10.1% nationwide and failed to win any proper mayor posts, although they did manage to win a cabinet post in Copenhagen (called mayor) and one in Aarhus (called rådmand). This year, they hope to gain from their increased cooperation with the Social Democrats at the national level, but surveys have shown that local DPPers are still far more likely to cooperate with blue parties than red parties.

DPP has always had a strong media gams, and this time they have even managed to dominate headlines during the local elections and brought their favourite topic, immigration, into many topics. Several local candidates have called for "halal bans" and demands for traditional food (i.e. including pork) in institutions. The party has called for limiting the right to vote and stand in local elections to Danish citizens, whereas currently EU-citizens have the right automatically while non-EU citizens gain it after living three years in a municipality. In the more absurd end, Parliament speaker Pia Kjærsgaard's husband, Henrik Thorup, who is running in the Capital Region, has called for a ban on "religious beards" among hospital personnel.

In several areas, particularly those without strong Liberal candidates, the DPP will probably manage to become a third major force, in the same way as it has in the national parliament. The party's best hope for winning a mayor is probably MP Jens Henrik Thulelsen Dahl, big brother of the party leader, in Assens. The party won 13.8% in 2013, and helped elect a Liberal mayor, but their cooperation has soured and recently DPP agreed on the yearly budget with the Social Democrats and the Red-Green Alliance, thereby effectively undermining the mayor shortly before the election. Another good candidate is prominent MP Rene Christensen in Guldborgsund, who already won 22.1% in 2013, but might be hurt by a poor relationsship to the local Social Democrats and a strong local list, which currently holds the mayor post. Odense is already the strongest of the four biggest cities for DPP, where they won 11% in 2013, and this time they are running with Christel Gall (in the picture), a former model and current piercer, who is very likely to win a cabinet post (rådmand) for the party. The party will probably manifest themselves as the strongest blue party in many of the poorer Copenhagen suburbs with many non-Western immigrants, but in many of these municipalities, the Social Democrats remain far ahead. Hvidovre might be the best option for an upset. The DPP, led by MP Mikkel Dencker, won 19.3% in 2013 while the Social Democrats "only" won 33%. This time the DPP might benefit further from the polarization with the immigrant party the National Party, which is throwing everything they got at this municipality with the three founders, the Ahmad brothers, and famous comedian Amin Jensen.
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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2017, 03:03:33 pm »

Really great posts, thanks for that! A question: when you talk about Copenhagen mayors, do you mean aldermen/women? Or are they district "mayors"?
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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2017, 03:33:40 pm »

Really great posts, thanks for that! A question: when you talk about Copenhagen mayors, do you mean aldermen/women? Or are they district "mayors"?

Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg (and partly) Frederiksberg have a special kind of political management. In other municipalities there is formally only one full-time politician, the mayor, although in practice a few more can often work full-time politically if they get additional board posts in companies owned wholly or partly by the municipalities. However, in the four big cities, there is a whole cabinet of full-time politicians, but, unlike a national government, the cabinet is not made up wholly of the governing majority, instead the posts are distributed proportionally between parties or coalitions of parties. So in Copenhagen, the Lord Mayor is a Social Democrat, but the mayor of Culture is from the DPP and the Mayor of Children and Youths is from the Liberals. These cabinet members, like ministers, lead topical departments and have some administrative powers, but most significant decisions are adopted in the city council. In, the three other cities, the leader is just called mayor, while the other cabinet members are called rådmænd (aldermen/councilmen).

The main argument against this system is of course that it can give an unfocused leadership as the politicians from different sides of the spectre can use the power of their departments to work against each other, whereas a cabinet composed entirely of the governing majority would probably work more in unison. One of the main arguments for this system is that it allows the opposition access to ressources, as they could otherwise be completely run over as part-time politicians against giant departments and a whole full-time cabinet with bunches of communication advisers and what not. Since the Social Democrats and the Red Bloc is normally in charge of the four main cities, they tend to be more positive towards changing the system, while the Blue Bloc parties don't want to throw away the limited influence they have in the cities.
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2017, 03:55:56 pm »

The current city cabinets:

Copenhagen
Frank Jensen (Social Democrat) is lord mayor, while the six other cabinet members (mayors) are from the Red-Green Alliance, the SPP, the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals, the Liberals and the DPP.

Aarhus
Jacob Bundsgaard (Social Democrat) is mayor, while the five other cabinet members (rådmænd) are from the Social Democrats, the SPP, the Social Liberals, the Liberals and the DPP. Pictured below with the mayor and the two lead civil servants in the back row, and the five other cabinet members in the front row.



Odense
Peter Rahbæk Juel (Social Democrat) is mayor, while the four other cabinet members (rådmænd) are from the Red-Green Alliance, the Social Liberals, the Liberals and the Conservatives.

Aalborg
Thomas Kastrup-Larsen (Social Democrat) is mayor, while the six other cabinet members (rådmænd) are two Social Democrats, a Red-Green, two Liberals and a Conservative.
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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2017, 03:48:07 pm »

Conservatives hope government-induced optimism can limit decline



The Conservatives are the smallest party in the national parliament, but locally they are still a strong player. In 2013, the party managed to increase its number of mayors with one to thirteen, despite a 2.4% decline in the national share of the vote to 8.6%. While that national share is likely to decline further this time, the party hopes that its uptick in the national polls after joining the government means the fall will not be too significant. With a general swing towards the red bloc parties expected, the Conservatives is likely to go down in the mayor count, but several of their mayors have comformtable majorities so it's unlikely to become a massacre. Furthermore, they are a quite flexible party locally, and unlike the Liberal Alliance or the DPP, does not have a lot of ideological opponents, so they are often able to strike deals with many different parties and have several coalitions with the Social Democrats.

In municipalities like Gentofte, Høje-Taastrup, Vallensbæk and Hørsholm, where they won 40% or above in 2013, they are unlikely to face any problems this time either. However, as previously described, they are in real danger of losing their traditional stronghold in Frederiksberg. They seem quite certain to lose their unpopular mayor in Hillerød, while a few others are on the line. However, like in 2013, the party is in play in so many municipalities and not afraid to team up with the Social Democrats, so they could very well replace some of their losses with new mayors elsewhere. In 2013, they actually lost four mayors but won five others elsewhere. Areas like Svendborg, Lolland or Middelfart could potentially provide new Conservative mayors.

Others who could provide new mayors, or at least some clear progress, are the party's three replacement MPs, who entered parliament when their three ministers left their seats as the party joined the government. Normally, ministers stay in parliament, but because the Conservatives only won 6 MPs in 2015, the work pressure would otherwise had been too big on the remaining 3 MPs. All three have a lot of experience in local politics, and their increased exposure from being MPs could help them here. Anders Johansson (left in the picture) could perhaps even end up as mayor in Ærø, where he won 13.9% and the third-highest number of personal votes in 2013. Orla Østerby (middle in the picture) in Lemvig won 10.0% and the second-highest personal vote number in 2013 and could add more this time, but is probably unlikely to become mayor in a municipality which currently has an absolute Liberal majority. Finally, Birgitte Jerkel (right in the picture) is running in Greve and Region Zealand. She has been a councillor both places for years, but never as the lead candidate until this year. In Greve, the reigning Liberal mayor will probably be hard to remove, but it looks like Region Zealand could be rather close, so perhaps an opening could be find there if she makes enough progress.
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« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2017, 12:33:41 pm »

Mette Frederiksen sing familiar tune in first election as Social Democratic leader



In her first campaign as Social Democratic leader, Mette Frederiksen has invested herself heavily in the success of the local and regional Social Democrats. She has visited all 98 municipalities during the past few weeks with several media features along the way. Frederiksen's message in most of these places have been a familar Social Democrat slogan "welfare before tax cuts". This slogan was probably chosen back when much of the talk was on the government's proposed tax cuts for the wealthiest. However, since then it has become quite clear that DPP would not allow that, while there have been agreements on reductions in taxes on cars, beverages etc, which are probably fairly popular. So it remains to be seen how effective this campaign will have been in a different environment, and one where the national polling average has moved to a tie.

In 2013, the Social Democrats did surprisingly well in terms of the national share with 29.5%, only a 1.1% drop. However, due to the overall 4% drop for the Red Bloc parties, the Social Democrat still had to face a loss of 16 mayors to 33. This year, their vote share will probably develop in quite different ways across the country; in the major cities, they are likely to lose a lot of votes to the Alternative, while they expect to make progress in several mid-sized towns. Overall, it could probably end up with another small drop in the national share, but they will surely gain mayors. Whether they gain 5 or 15 is the interesting question, and will help decide how good of a first election this is for Mette Frederiksen.

One of their possible new mayors is the 24-year old Christina Krzyrosiak Hansen (in the picture), who can become the youngest mayor ever. She is the Social Democrat lead candidate in Holbæk, and could emerge as the mayor in a municipality, that is likely to be quite fragmented with a former Social Democrat heading a new local list and a Liberal mayor which has become quite unpopular, also among the other centre-right parties. The Social Democrats are already heading the four biggest municipalities in terms of inhabitants, and this time they are also taking a aim at those ranked 5-8. Randers is the most likely pick-up with an unpopular Liberal mayor and a number of left leaning local lists. Esbjerg city has traditionally been Social Democratic, but has been led since 1994 by the Liberal Johnny Søtrup, who is not running this year. They hope to turn it red this time, but opinion polls suggest that the rural areas around Esbjerg will ensure that the fifth-largest city stays blue. In Vejle, they will probably need the support of a strong DPP to gain the post from the Liberals, while it would be a historic feat if the Social Democrats can gain the mayor post in Frederiksberg from the Conservatives.
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« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2017, 04:10:17 pm »

Tonight, there is a national debate between local representatives for the nine parties currently in parliament.



From left to right:
Rabih Azad-Ahmad, rådmand(alderman) for Culture in Aarhus for the Social Liberals
Laura Lindahl, MP councillor in Frederiksberg for the Liberal Alliance
Per Clausen, former MP and councillor in Aalborg for the Red-Green Alliance
Peter Rahbæk Juel, mayor in Odense for the Social Democrats
Benedikte Kiær, mayor in Helsingør for the Conservatives
Lars Krarup, mayor in Herning for the Liberals
Karina Lorentzen Dehnhardt, former MP and lead candidate in Kolding for the SPP
Rene Christensen, MP and councillor in Guldborgsund for the DPP
Melanie Simick, councillor in Mariagerfjord for the Alternative

Logical for the Social Liberals to use an urban, pro-immigration candidate, which I really expected the Alternative to do today as well. Instead, they have gone with a lightweight former SPP-councillor from Northern Jutland. Perhaps, they did not want to put even more attention on their "boyband" of immature young males, which are receiving a lot of negative attention. The last week, there have been revealed instances of sexual harassment in the party (with the perpetrator simply moved to another post in the party) and a strongly sexualized culture ( e.g. the chief of press mailing MPs and assistents with an encouragement to contribute to a "dick-pic-collage" for a party).

The Red-Green Alliance and Liberal Alliance are also strongest in urban areas, so their choices seem quite logical as well, and both have chosen their most well-known local candidates. Lindahl has been particularly aggressive against the other parties tonight for using funds on cultural arrangements and "presitige projects" instead of core welfare.

The Liberals with one of their strongest mayors from the Jutlandic heartland. I would have expected the Social Democrats to do something similar, but Rahbæk Juel makes sense as well as a symbol of a quite tough line on gangs and immigration in Odense. Furthermore, he is a new mayor in Odense, which is normally the closest of the major cities. The Conservatives with one of their famous mayors in Northern Zealand is quite logical, and she is not completely safe. DPP with one of their mayor hopes, and well-known as Financial Spokesperson on Christiansborg. SPP with the most well-known of their candidates, but perhaps also tainted by government experience.
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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2017, 01:41:59 pm »

Liberals hope that incumbency effects and recent polling upswing can mitigate decline



A few months ago, there were deep fears in the Liberals that Lars Løkke could lead the party to the fourth disastrous election in a row after a lost EU referendum, a very poor 2015 general election and a significant loss at the 2014 European election. Another poor result could prove that Lars Løkke is unelectable, and create another round of pressure for him to step down. However, since then the national election polls have improved along with the economic sentiments of the country. The latter is seen as potentially boosting the incumbency effects, that the party hopes to get, particularly from the 17 new mayors they won in 2013. Can the party end up with a limited 1-2% decrease, and only lose around half of the mayors they won in 2013, they will be quite relieved.

Mogens Jespersen (in the picture) in Mariagerfjord is one of these new mayors, that the party hope they can retain this time around. He became mayor on the back of a narrow 15-14 Blue bloc majority with DPP and the Liberal Alliance in the council. Since then, he has governed quitely and competently, and as the economy has improved, the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.6%. There are two handful of places like this, where the fate of the Liberals will likely be decided tomorrow. Places like Randers and Stevns will be difficult to retain due to internal chaos, but on the other hand, there should be good chances of winning mayor posts in Viborg and Lejre.
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« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2017, 11:11:09 am »

I have just been to vote in Viborg in the polling place in the country with the highest number of potential voters. 23.743 voters can vote in the sports arena in Viborg. A polling place in Herning is second, Aarhus city hall is 6th and the rest in top10 are all in Copenhagen. The smallest polling places are on the tiny islands. Mandø with 34 potential voters in Esbjerg municipality is the smallest. The picture below is from Viborg, and shows the copies of the two ballots. The left one is the municipial one, which is somewhat increased in size compared to the actual one, while the yellow regional ballot to the right really is that big. The turnout at 16 was 38.8%, compared to 38.3% in 2013. The final turnout in 2013 was 71.9%


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