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Last updated : Nov 2009
Denmark Government
Denmark Government - TravelPuppy.com
Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II. In the post-war era, Denmark joined NATO, while at home a new constitution, introduced in 1953, imposed a system of proportional representation, which has made coalition administrations a standard feature of Danish politics. Centre-left government led by the Social Democrats – invariably the country’s largest party – dominated from the 1950s until the 1980s, when, in line with the rise of the centre-right throughout Europe, the Conservatives were able to form a series of governments led by Poul Schulter – the most prominent Conservative leader of his generation. The Social Democrats, however, recovered their position at the 1993 election, under the leadership of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and retained control at the 1998 poll, by forging an alliance with the small Social Liberal Party.

The dominant issue in Danish politics during the 1990s was relations with the European Union, which Denmark joined in 1973. Along with the UK, Denmark is the most ‘Eurosceptic’ nation, as became apparent when a 1992 referendum rejected Danish acceptance of the Maastricht Treaty on the future development of the EU.

Denmark has decided to stay out of the first wave of countries joining the single European currency. The Government, which generally favours membership, made another attempt to persuade the public prior to a referendum held in September 2000 again, however, they failed.

Despite that critical defeat, the Social Democrat government continued to enjoy broad popular support on most issues. In November 2001, it decided – unwisely – to try and exploit this by calling a snap election. After a closely fought campaign, which was dominated by the issue of immigration policy, the 8 year-old Social Democrat government was supplanted by a Liberal/Conservative coalition led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Immigration has become a major political factor in Europe during the last few years and this has fuelled the growing popularity of extreme right-wing parties throughout the continent and Denmark is no exception. Despite lacking a seat in government, the right-wing anti-immigration Danish People’s Party and its leader, Pia Kjaersgaard, have already exercised considerable influence over government policy during the last 2 years.

Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. The constitutional charter of 1953 gives the hereditary monarch and the unicameral Parliament (Folketing) legislative power. The monarch has no personal political power. Members are elected to parliament by proportional representation.
Useful travel links
CIAWorld Factbook-UK information on the government
Directgov A-Z of Central Government sites