Sunday, 3 March 2013

Danish People’s Party gain popularity in polls

The Danish nationalist party Danish People’s Party has risen to popularity in the polls do disillusionment with the mainstream parties, economic crisis, and concern over the rise of mass immigration in Denmark.

Denmark’s ruling Social Democrats have for the first time polled below the  anti-immigrant populist Danish People’s party, in a sign of just how much the  country’s centre-left government is struggling.
The Social Democrats, led by Prime  Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, received just 17.2 per cent in the poll  released on Wednesday by Berlingske newspaper while the Danish People’s party  took 17.4 per cent.
The poll comes after a turbulent week for the minority coalition as a move to  cut the corporate tax rate from 25 to 22 per cent while reforming the student  grant system and other benefits has caused disbelief among some centre-left  politicians. Ms Thorning-Schmidt was forced to deny reports of open dissent from  some of her ministers to the plans, but numerous lower-ranking Social Democrat  officials have hit out at the plans.
Government insiders, however, downplayed the significance and reliability of  the poll, noting that it followed other recent measures that gave the coalition  its highest ratings for a year with 47.8 per cent of the vote.
Denmark’s government has lurched  from crisis to crisis since being elected in 2011 with many on the left  criticising its embrace of traditional rightwing measures such as a tax reform  last year that benefited some of the biggest earners at the expense of pensions  and unemployment benefits.
Ms Thorning-Schmidt is banking on the corporate tax cut to create 150,000 new  jobs in the private sector by the end of the decade as Denmark seeks to  kick-start its slow recovery from the financial crisis. Denmark was the Nordic  country – aside from Iceland – hardest hit by the effects of the credit crunch  and there have been several  bank failures in recent months amid high household indebtedness.
The Danish prime minister’s strategy is to hope that the economy recovers  strongly by the next elections in 2015 but some economists are sceptical that  the rebound will be very strong.
The Danish central bank still has negative interest rates for bank deposits,  something the Bank of England is considering as well. But private sector bank  executives say there is little demand in the economy for new loans and instead  Danske Bank, the country’s largest lender, has introduced fees for savings  accounts to protect its margins.
Political commentators say the danger for the Social Democrats – who received  a quarter of votes in the general election – is that the Danish People’s party  is now starting to attract centre-left voters, not just because of its tough  stance on immigration but also because of the economy.
“It is one of the most sensational polls I have seen in a long time,” said  Thomas Larsen, a commentator at Berlingske.
The Danish People’s party is one of a number of Nordic political groups such  as the True Finns that have been classified as far-right by some, although  others say only the Sweden  Democrats in the region is deserving of the tag, given its neo-Nazi roots.  The Danish People’s party helped support the last centre-right government in  return for a toughening  of immigration policies.


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