DENMARK
Parliamentary Chamber: Folketinget

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1998

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Chamber:
  Folketinget


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  11 March 1998


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 19 February 1998, Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (Social Democratic Party) called general elections for the following month. In doing so, he sought to ask voters whether they want a new Parliament which can continue the steady policy maintained over the past five years (that is, since 1993, when Mr. Rasmussen became Prime Minister). The poll would thus be held prior to Denmark’s May 28 referendum on the June 1997 Amsterdam treaty calling for enlargement of the European Union. We need a stable atmosphere ahead of the referendum , the Prime Minister said.

The three-week campaign ultimately focused as much on domestic as on foreign policy issues, as well as on the personalities of the party leaders. Debate centered on questions of immigration, tax cuts versus welfare, and the economy as a whole. In this connection, the Social Democrats, allied with the small Radical Party in the center-left governing coalition, defended their record in office, having lowered unemployment from 12% to 7% and ushered in a generally flourishing economic situation. The center-right opposition bloc was plagued by internal dissension between moderate and more extreme camps, as epitomized by the divergent views of the Liberal Party (Venstre), led by Mr. Uffe Ellemann-Jensen and the far-right Danish People’s Party, headed by Ms. Pia Kjaersgaard. The latter, gaining in popularity, adopted a platform staunchly opposing immigration, tax and European rapprochement.

On election day, the outgoing minority Government (with 70 of 179 seats) defied opinion polls to eek out a victory by the narrowest of margins (one seat), as the Social Democrats and their allies (which also included the Socialist People’s Party) captured 90 seats to 89 for the opposition forces, which also embraced the Conservatives, Centre Democrats and Christian People’s Party. In this context, Mr. Rasmussen remained Prime Minister and unveiled a reshuffled centre-left coalition Cabinet on 23 March.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (11 March 1998): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 3,993,009
Voters 3,431,926 (85.94%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 25,929
Valid votes 3,405,997

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Social Democratic Party 1,223,620 35.9
Liberal Party (Venstre) 817,894 24
Conservative People’s Party 303,965 8.9
Socialist People’s Party 257,406 7.6
Danish People's Party 252,429 7.4
Centre Democrats 146,802 4.3
Radical Liberal Party 131,254 3.9
Unity List 91,933 2.7
Christian People’s Party 85,656 2.5
Progress People's Party 82,437 2.4

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Social Democratic Party 63 +1
Liberal Party (Venstre) 42 =
Conservative People’s Party 16 -11
Socialist People’s Party 13 =
Danish People's Party 13 +9
Centre Democrats 8 +3
Radical Liberal Party 7 -1
Unity List 5 -1
Christian People’s Party 4 +4
Progress People's Party 4 -7

Comments:
  Excluding Greenland and Faeroe Islands seats, whose occupants belong to local parties

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 112
Women: 67

Distribution of seats according to age:  
Under 30 years 2
30 - 39 years 20
40 - 49 years 36
50 - 59 years 90
60 - 69 years 28
70 years and above 3


Distribution of seats according to profession:

 
Salaried employees in the public sector 36.6%
Salaried employees in the private sector 21.1%
Self-employed 20.6%
MPs only 19.4%
Workers in the private sector 1.7%
Workers in the public sector 0.6%


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Copyright 1998 Inter-Parliamentary Union