On the 18th of June the Danish general elections were held, and now the 179 members of the ‘Folketing’ have been elected. Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s centre-left coalition lost to Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s centre-right coalition, despite the fact that Rasmussen’s party suffered a great party loss of 13 members in the Folketing.
The right-wing populist party, The Danish People’s Party, gained 15 members – and the party was the great winner of the general election; much to the surprise and shock of the centre-left Danes. Now The Danish People’s Party, Liberal Alliance, The Conservative Party, and Venstre (Denmark’s Liberal Party) look to elect Venstre‘s Lars Løkke Rasmussen as the new Danish Prime Minister.
Approximately 85% of eligible Danes voted, and I, of course, did as well. In spite of the voter turnout, some centre-left coalition voters have struck out on social media – vehemently attacking the centre-right – or even – xenophobic Danes. Here’s my reaction.
On the 18th of June, we all made a choice, and now the election is over. The majority of voters chose to elect a new government, to promote the ideas of the centre-right coalition. The 15% that chose not to vote should be ashamed – for their inaction might have been the ultimate deciding factor. But we made a choice.
I, for one, am not surprised that 21% of Danes voted for the, to some, xenophobic Danish People’s Party. Denmark has proven to be xenophobic on a number of occasions – Danes have for years been timid in taking part in the European Union – and in this election the Social Democrats, Venstre, and The Danish People’s Party all fought to be the one party hardest on immigrants. It’s a shame, but that’s the direction the country has been going in.
To the centre-left voters that are throwing a fit, I say remember where you were in 2011 – celebrating, praising the parties that were centre-left. Praising a government that chose to revoke the progress that the former government (Venstre & Conservatives) had worked so hard to make possible. Some centre-left Danes, at times, mocking the losing coalition.
To the centre-right voters that are celebrating, I say that I hope to see a less unsavory reaction in the days to come – in the next four years. I hope to see a bipartisan approach from the new government – and I hope that, somehow – some way, we become less xenophobic. Remember where you were four years ago – learn from your mistakes – voters as well as politicians.
To all Danes, I say that we need to hold our respective parties accountable. Demand excellence, demand the best. Demand good politicians, don’t accept mediocrity.
To the new government, I say that we need four good years – you have to give us four good years. This is no time to rest on your laurels – it’s time to act, for the betterment of all Danes.
But we made a choice. A choice has been made. And that’s that.
I’m Jeffrey Rex