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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 November 2007

Denmark general election: Socialist People's Party doubles its MPs

THE RECENT Danish general election results confirmed a political trend in recent European elections ie a decline in support for the traditional conservative and social-democratic establishment parties and an increase in votes for both far-right and left-leaning parties.

This trend reflects an electorate growing increasingly concerned over immigration and social welfare/inequality issues. Opinion polls during the Danish election showed that most voters were worried by cuts in welfare provision the result of 'free-market' capitalist policies pursued by the governing Liberal Party coalition.

The Liberals led by Anders Fogh Ramussen lost six seats winning 46 and narrowly beating the Social Democrats by one seat.

The Social Democrats' leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt announced, pathetically, to party workers comprising of 'young professionals' and 'union officials': "I promised you that I could beat Fogh [sic]. It unfortunately didn't happen this time. But, my friends, I want to keep my promise. We'll do it next time." A case, perhaps, of third time lucky!

The Liberals' main coalition partner, the far-right Danish Peoples Party (DPP) gained one seat and now has 25 MPs in the 179-member parliament.

Like the Swiss People's Party in Switzerland's recent general election, the DPP ran an explicitly racist, anti-immigrant campaign. It produced posters depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed a clear reference to the anti-Muslim cartoon controversy of last year. Another poster showed the burning Twin Towers with the ironic slogan: "Tolerance is Danish; fanaticism isn't."

The biggest success story on election night went to the Socialist People's Party (SF) which more than doubled its parliamentary representation to 23 seats from eleven, making it the fourth largest party.

The SF is similar to other European post-'Communist' parties like Sweden's Left Party. It puts forward a mixture of left reformist and green policies.

Between 1993 and 2001 the SF mistakenly supported a Social Democratic minority government but has since positioned itself further left. It has though retreated from a euro-sceptic past, with 66% of its members in 2006 supporting a 'yes' vote in a referendum on the European Constitution.

With a muddled political programme that fundamentally doesn't challenge capitalism, it could end up making political compromises that undermines its support.

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