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Election battle will be decided by margins

The mink scandal, rising energy prices, inflation, sabotage on Nord Stream 1 and 2, two more bourgeois prime ministerial candidates, Inger Støjberg's phantom comeback, fourteen parties and a possible kingmaker in Lars Løkke. Although it might sound like it, this is not the plot of a new season of the popular TV series Borgen, but the reality of the upcoming election campaign. 

After the Minkkommission's report was published, when all of Denmark had gone into Tour De France ecstasy - Sofie Carsten Nielsen made a serious phone call to the Prime Minister. She had a short but clear message: "Call an election by the opening of the Folketing, or we'll call a vote of no confidence". An already stressed Prime Minister hung up furiously. 

Mette Frederiksen and co. have therefore been working after the summer holidays with proposals and political agreements to signal action. 

The mink scandal has been almost the only thing that has been able to unite the bourgeois parties. Who can remember a day-setting bourgeois initiative in this parliamentary term before the Conservative People's Party, quarter into the election campaign, came up with their economic plan? The other thing that has made an exciting election possible is Inger Støjberg. A poll has shown that the Danish Democrats have gained 54,000 Social Democrat voters - the equivalent of two seats. In addition, over 17,000 sofa voters from the last election could secure another mandate for the party. It would take about five mandates to shift power from red to blue, where Støjberg has potentially secured three now. On the other hand, a majority of the Danish People's Party would also require that the Danish People's Party does not leave parliament.

The Social Democratic Party won the last election campaign on Arne and neutralisation of immigration policy and the climate ambitions of the other red parties. The Social Democrats want the Arne pension to feature in the election campaign again, but the Left and the Danish Democrats have protected it. On the climate agenda, broad agreements have been made across the board, and the debate on foreigners has almost disappeared compared to the past. In the coming election campaign, new issues such as inflation and energy prices will take centre stage, as Danes can clearly feel that their wallets are now stretched for less. Likewise, the development of the public sector will be a major issue, because how much will the public sector have to grow in the future in order to keep up with the democratic trend? Here the Social Democrats are already engaged in negative campaigning against the economic plan put forward by the Conservative People's Party. 

Here's what to look out for in the election campaign:     

  1. The polls of the Danish Democrats and the Moderates, as the former can draw voters across the middle to the blue bloc, and the Moderates can checkmate bloc politics with decisive mandates. 
  2. Whether Mette Frederiksen will mobilise a new welfare agenda with higher wages for public employees. 
  3. The parties' solutions to inflation and rising energy prices.

The election buses are about to roll and the political zero-sum game begins. The prime minister has got Denmark through the corona crisis. She will use her experience of crisis management strategically throughout the election campaign if there is to be an experienced captain at the helm through a coming economic crisis. At the same time, the Social Democrats must crack the code on how to tackle Støjberg, but in a way that does not divide country and city. The Blue Bloc really believes in winning elections, and they have actually shown great unity lately. Will it hold throughout the election campaign? It will also be interesting to see if little Lars from Græsted gets into electoral shape and secures the crucial seats, so that neither the red nor the blue bloc has a majority. 

If you love the TV series Borgen, you're sure to love the upcoming election campaign.

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Christian Guldbrandt Steffensen

Public affairs advisor
+45 28 45 86 89
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Christian is an advisor in Holm's public affairs team, where he advises clients on how to influence political decision-makers and create greater political support. Christian has previously worked at the Conservative People's Party and at Rud Pedersen Public Affairs, which has given him a solid foundation for navigating the political landscape. Christian holds a Master's degree in Political Communication and Management from Copenhagen Business School.

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