Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 04:45:21 PM EST
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen called a parliamentary election today, to take place on the thirteenth of November this year. Cue campaign-mode from every political party (OK, that started in September already, but the government stumbled over a tax issue (the conservatives wanted tax cuts pretty desperately by then, and the Popular Party didn't, which meant major cat-fight in the government and no election for another month)).
This election follows hot on the heels of several scandals and 'bad stories' for the government, such as the revelation by retired CIA officials that Denmark does indeed know about the secret American torture centres and their kidnapping program, and have done so for quite some time.
Additionally, not even a month ago, the government intervened pretty heavy-handedly against counties that raised taxes beyond what they had 'agreed' (that's newspeak for 'been dictated'), casting a revealing light on the priorities of the current government vis-a-vis the discussion of tax cuts vs. government services...
Oh, and the government started the withdrawal from Iraq earlier this year, claiming that the Iraqi government had asked us to leave, and told us that they were ready to take over security duties. When asked whether this was correct, the Iraqi government essentially replied 'huh? That's not what our notes say.'
On the other hand, he had to call elections within the next six months or so, and that would put elections squarely within the timeframe both of overenskomstforhandlingerne (the labour market negotiations) (in spring) and the ratification of the Union constitution (in winter, probably).
Almost all of the professional
tea-leaf readers analysts say that there is a realistic risk that overenskomstforhandlingerne are going to break down, resulting in a general strike, and the Constitution is either going to get rammed through parliament, which would be massively unpopular, or run a very real risk of being turned down by the electorate, which might do Bad Things to the incumbent government if the general election is too close by.
All in all, the timing probably couldn't have been a whole lot more in favour of the current government than it is.
The government is leading in the polls, but I don't know by how much off the top of my head, and with a brand new party in the mix, I'd be more than a bit careful with the polls anyway. Besides any half-competent opposition should be able to forge the last half-year of incessant scandals into a winning hand. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if they manage not to...
Update: In the comments I implied that the Christian Popular Party usually supports the right wing. While this is historically true, I have learned today that they have decided to align themselves with the Social Democrats in this election for the first time ever. It is unlikely to mean a whole lot in practical terms, but it brings the image of rats leaving a sinking ship forcibly to my mind... When not even the ex-anti-abortionists support your position, you're on ethically shaky ground. Not that ethics has ever been a big issue in politics...