Deense anti-EU partij tweede na verkiezingen

More than 15 years ago, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the Social Democratic prime minister of Denmark, claimed in parliament that the Danish People’s Party would never be recognized by the political establishment due to its anti-immigration policy.

On Thursday, the party’s chairman, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, 45, joined his supporters in a rendition of “You’ll never walk alone” after taking a sensational 21 percent of the votes and becoming the second biggest party in parliament. “You’ll never walk alone,” is the favorite song of Liverpool football club, and Thulesen Dahl is a staunch fan of the team.

Denmark has changed.

Here are six takeaways from Thursday’s elections.

1. The big paradox
In 2011, outgoing Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and her Social Democratic Party had their worst election result in 100 years, but they won power. In 2015, Thorning-Scmidt’s party got more votes than any other party, but they lost the power. Why? Because her coalition partners suffered big losses, which means that she cannot muster a majority in parliament anymore.

It’s exactly the other way around for the opposition. In 2011, then-prime minister and leader of the conservative Liberal Party, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, received more votes than any other party but lost power. Yesterday, his party lost around 25 percent of its seats in parliament but won power. Why? Because its coalition partners gained enough votes to confect a majority for him in parliament.

2. The big winner
The anti-immigration and anti-EU Danish People’s Party received its best result ever. It is now the second biggest party and almost doubled its support compared to 2011. This will resonate around Europe, where anti-immigration and anti-EU forces are gaining ground in several countries. The big question is whether the Danish People’s Party will join the new government. If that happens, the party’s chairman, Thulesen Dahl, may become the next minister of finance. It will depend on negotiations with Lars Løkke Rasmussen. “Am I awake, or am I asleep and dreaming?” the founder of the party and former chairman, Pia Kjærsgaard, told Danish TV.

3. The big winner outside Denmark: Cameron
British Prime Minister David Cameron can count on support from the new Danish government for renegotiating a deal with the European Union. A week ago, the four opposition parties announced that if they were able to form a government after the election they would support Cameron’s search for a new deal with the EU. At the very least, it probably means that the new Danish government will be more skeptical of the European Union.

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