Current polls suggest that Denmark’s ‘blue bloc’ conservative parties might struggle to hold their parliamentary majority in this year’s general elections, but the school election showed there is reason to be optimistic about the future for the political right.
Conservative parties won a narrow majority with 51.2 percent of the votes in Thursday’s school election, in which over 63,000 students in the 8th, 9th and 10th grades cast their ballots.
Meanwhile the opposition Social Democrats were the largest-scoring single party, with 22.6 percent of the vote. The party achieved 26.3 percent of votes in the last real general election in 2015.
Although the poll does not have any bearing on the real general election, senior politicians reacted to the result on social media, including Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
“It’s great that our youth have views on the world they are a part of and want to ask questions, discuss with each other and explain what they mean. That’s what democracy is about,” Rasmussen tweeted.
Det tegner godt for fremtiden, at så mange elever har engageret sig i #skolevalg.
Dejligt at vores unge har en holdning til den verden, de er en del af og vil stille spørgsmål, diskutere med hinanden, forklare hvad de mener. Det er det, demokrati handler om. https://t.co/gj61jx7xYl
— Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) January 31, 2019
The PM’s Liberal (Venstre) party took 17 percent of votes, compared to 19.5 percent in the actual elections in 2015. The populist Danish People’s Party was voted for by 8.4 percent of young people. The anti-immigration party was backed by 21.1 percent of the voting population in 2015’s parliamentary election.
Other parties gained the following vote shares: Conservative: 13.1 percent; Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre): 11.1 percent; Liberal Alliance: 9.9 percent; Socialist People’s Party: 5.7 percent; Red-Green Alliance: 4.8 percent; Alternative: 4.6 percent.
The school elections are held once every two years and are organised by parliament, the Ministry of Education and Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd (Council for Danish Youth).
Around 80,000 14-17 year-olds from schools across the country took part in a three-week course of lessons prior to the vote, in which they were taught about the key issues of the various parties and took part in debates with youth party representatives.
63,000 of the 80,000 who were able to vote did so on Thursday, while the decision to take part in the event rested with individual schools. Some schools chose not to participate. Not all parties were able to send representatives to some debates.
The last school elections, in 2017, ended with a 55.3 percent majority for conservative parties.