You might be wondering what life in Denmark will be like. You start planning, check properties, get the papers sorted out, and apply for a job. But what do you know about political life in Denmark? You must be prepared though. After you relocate, a new team of top politicians will be responsible for the future of the country you live in. You want to know more about them, don’t you?
The Danish parliament is called Folketing
Danes are proud of their progressive democratic state. In the Danish parliament representatives of 14 different parties are responsible for making the most important decisions about the country’s future. Ruling in a coalition is the standard given that no party has had enough representatives to rule entirely on its own since the early 20th century.
The basics of political activity
Denmark’s system of governance is a parliamentary democracy. As we have mentioned before, there are currently 14 parties working for a better Denmark in the Folketing and they are working in coalition. The leading figure of one of the stronger parties within the ruling coalition is the elected prime minister, while leaders from other coalition parties become sometimes responsible for other matters in the government such as the Ministry for Justice, the Ministry for Finance, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The current government was established on the 27th of June 2019. General elections take place every four years, but the prime minister can call an election at any time.
Parties currently present in the Folketing
- Danish Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterne)
- Liberal Party (Venstre)
- Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti)
- Social Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre)
- Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti)
- Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten)
- Conservative Party (Det Konservative Folkeparti)
- Alternative (Alternativet)
- New Right (Nye Borgerlige)
- Liberal Alliance
Two seats are reserved in the Folketing for the representatives from Greenland and another two for the representatives from the Faroe Islands.
About the 170-year-old Constitution
As we have said before, Denmark is a democratic state. The constitution, the base of all legislation is in effect since 1849. In Danish it is called “grundlov” or basic law, and it is the set of the most fundamental, inalienable principles, rules, and rights for society, such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Constitution Day is celebrated every year on the 5th of June.
With The Constitutional Act of Denmark in 1849, King Frederik VII converted the Kingdom of Denmark into a constitutional monarchy. That means the monarch is still the head of state but has limited powers, such as formally signing bills passed by the Parliament. Other European countries with a similar system are Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. Queen Margrethe II is Denmark’s head of state, but her role is mostly ceremonial.
Legislation in Denmark
On a yearly basis, the Danish parliament works through up to 300 proposed bills and changes to the law. Ministers prepare most bills, but members of the parliament can also propose new legislation. The process gives time for thorough consideration. Committees discuss the proposals and consult interest group representatives, scholars, and external experts. As the final step, the Folketing votes about the new law.
One of the more surprising tasks of the Folketing is to approve citizenship. The candidates for citizenship are collected in large groups for approval by the parliament.
Politics and geography
Denmark is a unitary state organized on a decentralized basis. Up until 2007, the Danish territorial organization was made up of the State, the Counties, and the Municipalities. After an important reform was passed in 2004 the country was reorganized by the creation of five regions: Nordjylland, Midtjylland, Syddanmark, Sjælland and Hovedstaden. Another change was introduced in 2007 when the number of Municipalities was reduced from 271 to 98. Only municipalities are considered local authorities.
Regions have responsibilities in the areas of:
- Public health and healthcare
- Health insurance
- Mental health treatment
- Social services and special education
- Environment and nature
Municipalities are responsible for:
- Social services
- Unemployed service (local job centres) and labour market involvement
- Healthcare preventive treatment, care and rehabilitation, home care and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse, dental care
- Integration and language education
- Environmental protection and waste management, water and preparation of local plans
- Industrial and economic development