Denmark Political System

According to, with capital city of Copenhagen, Denmark is a country located in Northern Europe with total population of 5,792,213. Denmark is bordered by Germany to the south and south-west, the North Sea to the west, and the Baltic Sea to the east. To the north, Denmark shares a border with Sweden, while Norway lies to its northwest. The country also has maritime borders with Poland and other countries in Europe. Denmark is connected to Germany by a bridge over the Flensburg Fjord which links it to Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. The country’s longest border is with Germany, which stretches for 68 miles along its southern frontier. Visit countryaah for countries that start with letter D.

State and politics

According to the 1953 Constitution, Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with parliamentarism and a one-chamber system. The monarchy is hereditary within the Glücksborg House, and the Constitution also permits a female throne. The queen (king) formally has the executive power and shares the legislative power with the Folketing, but the constitutional balance of power is illusory. Through parliamentarism and the party system, power has been concentrated in the parliamentary majority, and the queen’s role in the cabinet is purely ceremonial.

The government makes its decisions at unofficial ministerial meetings with the prime minister as chairman, and the ministers are also part of smaller working groups, so-called government committees. Some of these are permanent. The coordination committee plays a major role when Denmark, as a rule, is governed by coalition governments. This consists of leading ministers from the cooperating parties and has served as an internal cabinet and executive committee in the government. However, the individual ministers have a more independent position than in Sweden, where decisions are made within the government. After the abolition of the one-world government in 1849, the central government administration is characterized by an extensive ministerial government, the so-called ministerial system. The trade ministers are the heads of ministries and ministries, which together with special administrative directorates constitute the central administration,

The parliament is elected for four years (even in the case of extras) and has 179 members, 2 of whom are from the Faroe Islands and 2 from Greenland. The choices are direct and proportional, and maximum justice is ensured through a system of fixed circuit mandates and variable supplementary mandates. The threshold for the parties is 2 percent and the voting and voting age is 18 years.

In 1953, the two-chamber system was abolished, in which the County Council played the same role as the first chamber in Sweden, but there are still strong minority guarantees. Basic amendments are decided by the Folketing after a new election and in addition by a majority of at least 40 per cent of those entitled to vote in a referendum. A referendum is compulsory on issues concerning the country’s sovereignty, a provision that was applied when Denmark joined the EC in 1972. The Constitution further allows a referendum on ordinary legislative proposals, but not budget issues, if a third of the Members of the Parliament so require. See for shopping and eating in Denmark.

The work of the Folketing has changed in an important way. The committee system was previously poorly developed compared to the Swedish Parliament, and most committees were appointed on a case-by-case basis, but since 1972 there are 23 standing committees (committees), of which the finance, tax and housing committees are the most important. The parliamentary year begins the first Tuesday in October with a political declaration by the Prime Minister. In December, the next year’s state budget (finance law) will be finalized and the spring session will usually be until June.

Administration and municipalities

Since January 1, 2007, Denmark has been divided into 5 regions (North Jutland, Central Jutland, South Denmark, Zealand and the Capital) and 98 municipalities.

Earlier (since the municipal reform in 1970), Denmark was divided into 14 counties (later 13), as many county municipalities/county councils (county councils) and 277 (later 271) primary municipalities with elected municipal councils and mayors; Copenhagen and Frederiksberg were primary municipalities with county municipal status and special rules for administration and supervision.

At the municipal elections held every four years, the parties play a less dominant role. The turnout is lower than in the general elections. Local issues are given more space, and the mayor’s elections are often of a personal nature. It is also striking that in Denmark, the issue of a joint election day for municipal and parliamentary elections has not been discussed. But the municipal assemblies have led to rapid party politicization, and since 1970 the unpolitical lists, which are particularly prevalent in the countryside, have fallen sharply in number. The mayors are an influential pressure group, and during the 1980s, the County Council and the Municipal Association often cited criticism of the government and financial savings plans. Of the bourgeois parties, Venstre municipal politics is the largest. The party has a strong position in the rural municipalities and, alongside the Social Democrats, is the major mayor’s party. Conservative People’s Party is strong in the metropolitan area, while other parties play a fairly marginal role in municipal politics.

Political parties

The party system emerged in connection with the battle over parliamentarism and the contradictions between the parliamentary parliament and the parliament. Venstre (1870) and Højre (1870) were formed in opposition to the Social Democrats (1871) within the Riksdag, but the constitutional conflict deepened and forced the parties to broaden their activities and mobilize voters. Højre, who was the party of landowners and government officials from the outset, has later developed into a middle-class urban and industrial party, and the Social Democrats and Venstre have even more to be class parties linked to specific interest groups.

The Social Democracy (formerly the Social Democrats) has always been associated with the trade union movement, and Venstre, which has been a farmer and rural party, has based its strong position on the cooperative movement and the agricultural-industrial complex. The cooperative movement had its breakthrough during the agricultural crisis of the 1880s, and ten years later the peasants were ripe to deprive landlords of political power. In 1901, parliamentarism was recognized by the king, and the same year the Venstre government formed with the support of the parliamentary majority.

The change of system accelerated the modernization of politics and party structure. In 1905, Radical Venstre was formed by small farmers (landlords) and intellectuals who were dissatisfied with Venstre’s cautious reform policy and compromises on the defense issue. With the constitutional reform in 1915, Denmark switched from majority elections to proportional elections, and the same year the highly divided right groups merged into the Conservative People’s Party.. The system of the Social Democrats and Radical Venstre in a left bloc and the Venstre and Conservative People’s Party in a right bloc would prove very stable. It was classically well-anchored and remained largely unchanged until the 1960s. In 1950, Denmark was still predominantly a capitalist agricultural society with an industrial domestic market, and the social structure changed only slowly during the period.

Of paramount importance was the parliamentary cooperation between the Social Democracy and Radical Venstre, who had common interests in social policy, and they were long unanimous in the view of defense and foreign policy. The collaboration began even before the First World War and resulted in the longest governments of the period by far: Carl Theodor Zahles 1913-20 and Thorvald Staunings1929-40. The collaboration between the Conservative People’s Party and Venstre, which has long been the cornerstone of bourgeois politics, was previously hampered by strong conflicts of interest in the economy and trade policy. In the 1920s, the Conservative People’s Party was a support party for the reigning Venstre, but the cooperation was discontinued in 1929 and did not resume until after the Second World War. While the Conservative People’s Party has ties to the industry and in the past was strongly protectionist, Venstre has guarded agricultural export interests and been economically liberal.

Since 1945, parliamentary conditions have been less stable. New parties have challenged the old class parties, and of 30 governments up to the one formed in 2015, only three have been majority governments. The Social Democracy has held the prime minister’s post most of the period, but was still remarkably weak compared to the Norwegian and Swedish fraternity parties and occasionally held less than 30 percent of the vote. The Socialist People’s Party, which was formed in 1959 and represents an odogmatic Marxism, has been a far more serious competitor for the workers’ votes than the communists, and the attempts to form a socialist unity front have failed due to deep contradictions in the view of foreign policy and defense. Most comprehensive was the collaboration between the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party in 1966-67,

During the 1980s, Conservative People’s Party Poul Schlüter successfully led several bourgeois coalitions. The 1990s were marked by social democratic government leadership under Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, where Radical Venstre was the stable coalition partner. The 2001 election resulted in great bourgeois success and a new minority coalition under Venstres Anders Fogh Rasmussen, with the active support of the Danish People’s Party.

The problems associated with Denmark’s rapid development from agricultural land to industrial and service society have led to growing dissatisfaction with the established parties. It has been strong even among bourgeois voters and culminated during the economic crisis of the 1970s. Mobility among voters increased dramatically, and in the 1973 elections three new parties, the Progressive Party, the Center Democrats and the Christian People’s Party, gained (since 2003 Christian Democrats), together 28 percent of the votes against 58 percent for the four established parties.

The Progress Party under the leadership of Mogens Glistrup was given 28 seats in one go and became the second largest party in the Folketing. It later declined strongly, but continued to play an important role and contribute to the unclear parliamentary situation. The party could be characterized as populist and petty-bourgeois, and directed harsh criticism of tax policy and bureaucracy. It mainly supported the bourgeois bloc but never formally belonged to it and refused until 1989 to vote for the Finance Act.

A split in the Progress Party led in 1995 to the formation of the Danish People’s Party, which, under the leadership of Pia Kjærsgaard and later Kristian Thulesen Dahl (born 1969), achieved great success. Pia Kjærsgaard managed to put refugee and immigrant issues at the top of the political agenda, and the party was given a key position for the bourgeois government formation after the 2001 election.

At the parliamentary elections in November 2001, Venstre became the largest party and formed a minority government together with the Conservative People’s Party. The government relied on the support of the Danish People’s Party, which progressed strongly in the elections. The parliamentary elections in 2005 meant no major changes in the parliamentary situation except that the Christian Democrats did not reach the two percent limit and lost all their seats. Support for the Danish People’s Party increased somewhat further and the Social Democrats lost five seats. Fogh Rasmussen’s government coalition retained power.

The successes of the Danish People’s Party during the 00s forced a changed political focus on all parties on both sides of the block border. Both the Social Democrats and Venstre put forward a considerably tighter refugee and asylum policy in an attempt to reduce the influx of voters to the Danish People’s Party. This, in turn, prepared the ground for the formation of new parties such as the Liberal Alliance and the Alternative that opposed this political reorientation.


In October 2007, Fogh Rasmussen announced a new election at short notice. He thus exercised his right to announce new elections at any time in order to clarify the parliamentary situation. An important question during the short electoral movement was how the voters would stand for the newly formed party Alliance (Liberal Alliance), consisting of defectors from Radical Venstre and Venstre and strongly critical of the Danish People’s Party.

In the parliamentary elections in November 2007, Venstre went back, but again became the largest party with 26.2 percent of the votes with the Social Democrats (25.5 percent) in second place. The Danish People’s Party went further ahead, while the new party Alliance (later Liberal Alliance) did not receive as many votes as predicted during the electoral movement; however, the party was given the role of wave master. Fogh Rasmussen’s government could remain in power.

In 2009, Fogh Rasmussen was appointed new Secretary General of NATO and left the party leadership post in Venstre and the Prime Minister post. Former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen was appointed new Prime Minister and party leader. The political climate was characterized by the financial crisis, integration policy, Denmark’s military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and the aftermath of the controversies surrounding the Mohammed cartoons. After disagreement between the government and the Danish People’s Party on economic policy in 2011, Løkke Rasmussen called for parliamentary elections in September the same year.

The 2011 election resulted in a meager success for Venstre, which received 26.7 percent of the vote, while the government partner Conservative People’s Party halved to 4.9 percent. The Social Democrats, under the leadership of Helle Thorning-Schmidt, also declined slightly and gained 24.8 percent. Thanks to great successes for the Enhedslisten and Radical Venstre, the left bloc gained a majority in the Folketing with 89 seats against 87 for the bourgeois parties. Thorning-Schmidt was then able to form a new government with the Radical Left and the Socialist People’s Party. The latter party left the government cooperation in January 2014 due to disagreement within the party regarding the government’s plans to sell parts of the state energy company Dong Energy A/S.

The parliamentary elections in 2015 meant relatively large changes in Danish politics. As late as 2013, the party forming the Alternative received 4.8 percent of the vote, giving nine seats in the Folketing. Both the Enhed list (7.8 percent) and the Social Democrats (26.3 percent) increased slightly, while Radical Venstre lost about half of its electoral support. Thanks to a great success for the Danish People’s Party, which received 21.1 percent of the vote and became the largest bourgeois party, and some success for the Liberal Alliance won the bourgeois bloc despite Venstre backing. Left Lars Løkke Rasmussen became new prime minister. After unsuccessful negotiations with the Danish People’s Party on a coalition government, he formed a minority government consisting solely of Venstre.

Both Venstre and the Social Democracy (which the party has named since 2016) made a big difference in the 2019 parliamentary elections. The left, for its part, advanced by close to 4 percentage points but lost in spite of the government power. In an election where several parties either increased sharply (Conservative People’s Party, Socialist People’s Party, Radical Left) or backed down (Liberal Alliance), the result of the Danish People’s Party was the most spectacular. The party received 8.7 percent of the vote (–12.4 percentage points) and went from 37 to 16 seats. New party in the Folketing became New Citizens (formed in 2015), which stands for market liberalism combined with immigration resistance. However, the controversial and outspoken Islamist party Stram Kurs (formed in 2017) did not succeed in crossing the two percent barrier.

After almost three weeks of negotiations with the Socialist People’s Party, the Enhedlist and Radical Venstre, the Social Democratic Party leader Mette Frederiksen was able to form a minority government. Mette Frederiksen became Denmark’s youngest prime minister (41 years) when he was appointed.

Results in elections to the Folketinget

Voting and mandate distribution in elections to the Folketing since 1990 (here under their current names)

1990 1994 1998 2001 2005 2007 2011 2015 2019
Socialdemokratiet 37.4 (69) 34.6 (62) 35.9 (63) 29.1 (52) 25.8 (47) 25.5 (45) 24.8 (44) 26.3 (47) 25.9 (48)
Conservative People’s Party 16.0 (30) 15.0 (27) 8.9 (16) 9.1 (16) 10.3 (18) 10.4 (18) 4.9 (8) 3.4 (6) 6.6 (12)
Venstre 15.8 (29) 23.3 (42) 24.0 (42) 31.2 (56) 29.0 (52) 26.2 (46) 26.7 (47) 19.5 (34) 23.4 (43)
Socialist People’s Party 8.3 (15) 7.3 (13) 7.6 (13) 6.4 (12) 6.0 (11) 13.0 (23) 9.2 (16) 4.2 (7) 7.7 (14)
Fremskridtspartiet 6.4 (12) 6.4 (11) 2.4 (4) 0.5 (0)
Center-Democrats 5.1 (9) 2.8 (5) 4.3 (8) 1.8 (0) 1.0 (0)
Radical Left 3.5 (7) 4.6 (8) 3.9 (7) 5.2 (9) 9.2 (17) 5.1 (9) 9.5 (17) 4.6 (8) 8.6 (16)
Kristendemokraterne 2.3 (4) 1.9 (0) 2.5 (4) 2.3 (4) 1.7 (0) 0.9 (0) 0.8 (0) 0.8 (0) 1.7 (0)
Unity List 1.7 (0) 3.1 (6) 2.7 (5) 2.4 (4) 3.4 (6) 2.2 (4) 6.7 (12) 7.8 (14) 6.9 (13)
Danish People’s Party 7.4 (13) 12.0 (22) 13.3 (24) 13.9 (25) 12.3 (22) 21.1 (37) 8.7 (16)
Liberal Alliance 2.8 (5) 5.0 (9) 7.5 (13) 2.3 (4)
The option 4.8 (9) 3.0 (5)
New Civil 2.4 (4)


The legal system in Denmark, as in the other Nordic countries, was originally influenced by Germanic legal principles and traditions, but over the centuries through the mediation of the church, the extensive low German commercial relations and the legal university studies mediated by Roman law. Comprehensive and detailed legislation characterizes modern Danish law.

The judicial system consists of courts (the Danish village), which is the first instance in both litigation and criminal cases. Appeals go to the supreme courts (the Danish national court), which, however, also first and foremost adjudicate in the most serious criminal cases and in principle particularly important litigation, mainly those where an individual party stands against the highest administrative bodies. The highest court is the Supreme Court, which determines the cases brought there by appealing the decisions of the superior courts. The judgment of a court of appeal which has been appealed and rendered by the court of justice can only with special permission come before the Supreme Court.

In Copenhagen, there is also a special court for trade disputes, the Sø- og Handelsretten, whose decisions after appeal can be tried by the highest court. Denmark has no special administrative courts. It belongs to the EU and thus is subject to the rules of the European Community. The death penalty for crimes committed during peacetime was abolished in 1933. For some serious crimes committed during wartime or war-like conditions, the death penalty remained until 1978; the last execution took place in 1950.


died about 810 Godfred
died about 950 Gorm the old one
dead 987 (or 986) Harald Blue tooth
about 987-1014 Sven Tve beard
1014-18 Harald
1018-35 Knot the big one
1035-42 TIGHT kNOT
1042-47 Magnus the good
1047-74 Sven Estridsson
1074-80 Harald Hen
1080-86 Knot the saint
1086-95 Olof Hunger
1095-1103 Erik Ejegod
1104-34 Nils
1134-37 Erik Emune
1137-46 Erik Lam
1146-57 throne battles (Sven Grate, Knut Magnusson and Valdemar the Great)
1157-82 Valdemar the Great
1182-1202 Knut VI
1202-41 Valdemar II Victory
1241-50 Erik Plogpenning
1250-52 Abel
1252-59 Kristofer I
1259-86 Erik Klipping
1286-1319 Erik Menved
1320-26 Kristofer II
1326-30 Valdemar III
1330-32 Kristofer II
1332-40 interregnum
1340-75 Valdemar Atterdag
1376-87 Olof
1387-1412 Margareta
1396-1439 Erik of Pomerania
1440-48 Christophers of Bavaria
1448-81 Kristian I
1481-1513 His
1513-23 Kristian II
1523-33 Fredrik I
1534-59 Kristian III
1559-88 Fredrik II
1588-1648 Kristian IV
1648-70 Fredrik III
1670-99 Kristian V
1699-1730 Fredrik IV
1730-46 Kristian VI
1746-66 Fredrik V
1766-1808 Kristian VII
1808-39 Fredrik VI
1839-48 Kristian VIII
1848-63 Fredrik VII
1863-1906 Kristian IX
1906-12 Fredrik VIII
1912-47 Kristian X
1947-72 Fredrik IX
1972- Margrethe II

Prime Ministers and Governments

Period Prime Minister and Government parties
1848-52 AW Moltke, government official with elements of national liberals
1852-53 CA Bluhme, Conservative
1853-54 AS Ørsted, Conservative
1854-56 PG Bang, Conservatives and National Liberals
1856-57 CG Andræ, Conservatives and National Liberals
1857-59 CC Hall, predominantly national liberals
1859-60 CE Rotwitt, supported by farmer friends
1860-63 CC Hall, National Liberals
1863-64 DG Monrad, National Liberals
1864-65 CA Bluhme, Conservative
1865-70 CE Free, Conservative
1870-74 Ludvig Holstein-Holsteinborg, landowner and national liberal
1874-75 CA Fonnesbech, landowner and national liberal
1875-94 JBS Estrup, Right
1894-97 Take Reedtz-Thott, Right
1897-1900 Hugo Hørring, Right
1900-01 Hannibal Sehested, Right
1901-05 JH Deuntzer, Left
1905-08 JC Christensen, Left
1908-09 Niels Neergaard, Venstre
1909 Ludvig Holstein-Ledreborg, Left
1909-10 CT Zahle, Radical Left
1910-13 Klaus Berntsen, Venstre
1913-20 CT Zahle, Radical Left
1920 Otto Liebe, Ministry of Expedition
1920 MP Friis, Ministry of Expedition
1920-24 Niels Neergaard, Venstre
1924-26 Thorvald Stauning, Social Democracy
1926-29 Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, Left
1929-40 Thorvald Stauning, Social Democracy, Radical Left
1940-42 Thorvald Stauning, Unity Government
1942 William Buhl, Unity Government
1942-43 Erik Scavenius, Unity Government
1943-45 Department Head Handlebar
1945 William Buhl, Unity Government
1945-47 Knud Kristensen, Left
1947-50 Hans Hedtoft, Social Democracy
1950-53 Erik Eriksen, Left, Conservative People’s Party
1953-55 Hans Hedtoft, Social Democracy
1955-57 HC Hansen, Social Democracy
1957-60 HC Hansen, Social Democracy, Radical Left, Retsforbundet
1960 Viggo Kampmann, Social Democracy, Radical Left, Law Society
1960-62 Viggo Kampmann, Social Democracy, Radical Left
1962-64 JO Krag, Social Democracy, Radical Left
1964-68 JO Krag, Social Democracy
1968-71 Hilmar Baunsgaard, Radical Left, Conservative People’s Party, Left
1971-72 JO Krag, Social Democracy
1972-73 Anker Jørgensen, Social Democracy
1973-75 Poul Hartling, Left
1975-78 Anker Jørgensen, Social Democracy
1978-79 Anker Jørgensen, Social Democracy, Left
1979-82 Anker Jørgensen, Social Democracy
1982-88 Poul Schlüter, Conservative People’s Party, Left, Center Democrats, Christian People’s Party
1988-93 Poul Schlüter, Conservative People’s Party, Left, Radical Left
1993-94 Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Social Democracy, Radical Left, Center Democrats, Christian People’s Party
1994-96 Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Social Democracy, Radical Left, Center Democrats
1996-2001 Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Social Democracy, Radical Left
2001-09 Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Left, Conservative People’s Party
2009-11 Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Left, Conservative People’s Party
2011-15 Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Social Democrats, Radical Left, Socialist People’s Party
2015-16 Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Left (minority government)
2016-19 Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Left, Conservative People’s Party, Liberal Alliance (minority government)
2019- Mette Frederiksen, Social Democracy (minority government)