Social Democrats expected to return to power this week after backing once far-right policies
Tue 4 Jun 2019
Tacking left on welfare and right on immigration looks likely to pay off for Denmark’s Social Democrats, who are widely expected to return to power this week as voters desert the centre-right government and the far right.
A poll this weekend predicted the centre-left party, led by Mette Frederiksen, will be the country’s largest with about 27% of the national vote after the election on Wednesday, while the “red bloc” of left-leaning parties it leads is on course for more than 55%.
The outgoing centre-right government of the prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, is forecast to finish a distant second on about 18%, with support for the far-right Danish People’s party predicted to collapse to barely 11%: half its score in the 2015 vote and a repeat of the DPP’s poor performance in the European elections last month.
The projected results follow the adoption by Denmark’s mainstream parties of hardline anti-immigration policies previously the preserve of the far right, which immigrants and human rights campaigners believe have led to a rise in racist abuse and discrimination.
Rasmussen’s Liberal party and the Social Democrats have both backed widely criticised measures on immigration, arguing they are needed to protect Denmark’s generous – if increasingly creaking – welfare system and to integrate migrants and refugees already in the country.
But discrimination cases are up and the number of racially or religiously motivated hate crimes registered by Danish police – which is likely to be lower than the actual figure because not all incidents are reported – surged to 365 in 2017 from 228 the year before.
Louise Holck, the deputy executive director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, said: “Politicians are moving very close to the boundaries of human rights.”