The results are almost in and I confess that I’ve been finding these Danish local elections rather exciting. OK, they’re not quite Borgen and certainly not The Killing. But over at Copenhagen’s City Hall there is a real-life political drama going on over who controls what.
With so many parties, Danish politics is complicated. But that’s what makes it so interesting. Coalition means deals and it looks like everyone’s at it. Copenhagen’s Mayor Frank Jensen, from the Social Democrats, keeps his top seat, but only thanks to support from two other parties (Enhedslisten and Socialistisk Folkeparti).
And it doesn’t stop there. There are another SIX mayors to choose, each with his/her own fiefdom. Parties have formed blocs as they fight to have a seat around the mayoral table. According to the Copenhagen Post, the sticking points have been over who gets the Traffic and Environment Administration (TEA) and who gets the Integration and Employment Administration (IEA).
The centrist party Radikale was apparently offered the TEA, if it joined the main opposition bloc. Although this is considered a prize position at City Hall, the party turned it down. It didn’t want the anti-immigration party Dansk Folkeparti (DF) to take control of Integration and Employment – which was part of the deal.
So instead the left-wing Enhedslisten party has secured mayoral control of Traffic and Environment. This is a party that’s pro bikes and anti-car, infuriating those on the right who believe business will suffer.
The rest will be decided over the next few days. Exciting isn’t it? Or is it just me?!
A Footnote: Turnout in these local and regional elections was almost 72%. That’s more than 6 points higher than in 2009. So allowing people to cast early ballots in places like McDonald’s restaurants (see my earlier post here) must have helped. Something to be noted in countries like the UK perhaps?
If you’re really interested, watch my TV report for Al Jazeera English on this very subject.