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Coat of arms or logo.
Type Unicameral
Speaker Thor Pedersen, Venstre
since 28 November 2007
Members 179
Political groups Venstre (47)
Social Democrats (45)
Danish People's Party (24)
Socialist People's Party (23)
Conservative People's Party (18)
Social Liberal Party (9)
Red-Green Alliance (4)
Liberal Alliance (3)
Siumut (1)
Inuit Ataqatigiit (1)
Republican Party (1)
Union Party (1)
Independent (2)
Last election 13 November 2007
Meeting place
Christiansborg Slot.jpg
Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen

The Folketing (Danish Folketinget Danish pronunciation: [ˈfɔlɡəˌtʰeŋˤ]), is the national parliament of Denmark. The name literally means “People's Thing”—that is, the people's governing assembly.



From 1849 to 1953 the Folketing was one of the two houses in the bicameral parliament known as the Rigsdag; the other house was known as the Landsting. Since both houses, in principle, had equal power, the terms "upper house" and "lower house" were not used. The difference between the houses was voter representation.

The Folketing was elected by common vote and consisted mainly of independent farmers, traders and merchants as well as the educated classes (i.e. the liberal forces of society). From 1866 to 1915 the right of vote for the Landsting was restricted to the wealthiest, and some of its members were even appointed by the king, thus it predominantly represented the old aristocracy and other conservatives. From 1915 the Landsting was also elected by common vote, although indirectly and with a higher age limit than for the Folketing. During the next decades, law making mainly took place in the Folketing and the Landsting came to be regarded as a superfluous rubber stamp.

In 1953 the people by popular vote adopted a revised constitution. Among the changes was the elimination of the Landsting and the introduction of a unicameral parliament, known only as the Folketing. Christiansborg Palace has been the domicile of parliament since 1849. The palace is located in the heart of Copenhagen.

Last election results

e • d Summary of the 13 November 2007 Parliament of Denmark election results
Parties Leaders Votes  % Seats +/ –
Liberals (Venstre) (V) Anders Fogh Rasmussen 908,472 26.2% 46 –6
Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterne) (A) Helle Thorning-Schmidt 881,037 25.5% 45 –2
Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti) (O) Pia Kjærsgaard 479,532 13.9% 25 +1
Socialist People's Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti) (F) Villy Søvndal 450,975 13.0% 23 +12
Conservative People's Party (Det Konservative Folkeparti) (C) Bendt Bendtsen 359,404 10.4% 18 ±0
Social Liberal Party (Det Radikale Venstre) (B) Margrethe Vestager 177,161 5.1% 9 –8
New Alliance (Ny Alliance) (Y) Naser Khader 97,295 2.8% 5 +5
Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) (Ø) Collective leadership 74,982 2.2% 4 –2
Christian Democrats (Kristendemokraterne) (K) Bodil Kornbek 30,013 0.9% 0 ±0
Candidates without parties 549 0.0% 0 ±0
Subtotal 3,459,420 100.0% 175
Faroe Islands
Republican Party (Tjóðveldi) (E) Høgni Hoydal 5,949 25.4 1 ±0.0 %
Union Party (Sambandsflokkurin) (B) Kaj Leo Johannesen 5,413 23.5 1 +2.1 %
People's Party (Fólkaflokkurin) (A) Jørgen Niclasen 4,726 20.5 0 -3.6 %
Social Democratic Party (Javnaðarflokkurin) (C) Jóannes Eidesgaard 4,702 20.4 0 -1.8 %
Centre Party (Miðflokkurin) (H) Álvur Kirke 1,577 6.8 0 +3.5 %
Self-Government Party (Sjálvstýrisflokkurin) (D) Kári P. Højgaard 797 3.5 0 +1.1 %
Subtotal 23,164 100% 2
Inuit Community (Inuit Ataqatigiit) Josef Motzfeldt 7,107 33.5 1
Forward (Siumut) Hans Enoksen 6,658 31.4 1
Feeling of Community (Atassut) Finn Karlsen 4,004 18.9 0
Democrats (Demokraatit) Per Berthelsen 3,436 16.2 0
Subtotal 21,205 100% 2
Total (Turnout: 86.6 %) 179 Seats

Subsequent changes

Following the election a number of members have switched parties.

Liberal Alliance

New Alliance changed its name to Liberal Alliance and underwent a lot of changes in its parliamentary group:

  • Jørgen Poulsen was excluded from New Alliance in June 2008 and joined the Social Liberal Party.
  • Gitte Seeberg left her New Alliance seat in parliament in favour of becoming the secretary general of WWF Denmark; her substitute is Villum Christensen.
  • Naser Khader left New Alliance following a leadership dispute; the party then changed its name to Liberal Alliance and is led by Anders Samuelsen; Khader was an independent at first but then joined the Conservatives.

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of

2001 · 2005 · 2007

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The Conservatives

Constitutional requirements

  • The Folketing consists of 179 members all elected for a four-year term or until the Prime Minister (via the Queen-in-council) calls for elections, whichever comes first. Greenland and the Faroe Islands each elect 2 members separately.
  • The Constitution requires for "equal representation of the various opinions of the electorate", and for regional representation to be secured. The electoral act stipulates the details for this: 135 seats are elected by proportional representation in 17 districts, and 40 supplementary seats are allotted to make out for the difference between district and nation-wide vote. The 135 seats are distributed to the parties by the D'Hondt method of the party-list system of proportional representation and the 40 supplementary seats by the Sainte-Laguë method. Each party may choose among a number of methods for how the seats won by that party are to be distributed among the candidates.[1]
  • The result is proportional representation; however, in rare cases, the biggest parties may gain one or two seats extra from smaller parties.
  • The voter may vote for a party list, one of the candidates on a party list, or an independent candidate.
  • Parties (usually district party assemblies) decide on the nomination of candidates before the election. When co-nomination is assigned, candidates are elected according to personal votes. When priority order is assigned, only an extreme number of personal votes can change the rank.
  • Parties must either pass the threshold, 2% of the national vote, or gain a district seat to gain any supplemental seats. Though possible, it is very rare for a party to gain a district seat without getting 2% of the national vote.
  • To contest an election, parties which are not currently represented in Parliament must collect certificates of support from ca. 20,000 voters (the number of valid votes cast in Denmark proper at the previous election divided by 175, the equivalent of one seat) and have these individually stamped by the registration offices in these voters' municipalities of residence.
  • Denmark has universal suffrage for all citizens over 18 years who live in the realm and who have not been declared incapable of managing their own affairs. The constitution makes it possible to restrict suffrage for convicted criminals and people receiving social benefits, but this option has not been used for several decades.
  • All voters who have not been convicted of criminal acts, making them unworthy for a seat in the parliament, are eligible. The Folketing decides if a member is eligible or not (after his election).
  • The constitution does not mention political parties at all, although the electoral act does, and MPs are virtually always elected for a party. The only independent who has been elected in modern times is the comedian Jacob Haugaard, but independents, usually unknown ones, are seen at every election. Requirements for standing as an independent candidate are much smaller than for a new party, but independents are only allowed to contest in a single district, making it very difficult to gain the needed number of votes for a seat.
  • Members enjoy immunity, meaning that no criminal charges may be brought against an MP, unless he is caught red-handed, provided that the Folketing doesn't lift the immunity. The purpose of this is to prevent political persecution. In practice, the Folketing has always lifted the immunity when a member has been accused of a crime, usually with the consent of the accused member himself.
  • Debates can be conducted behind closed doors, although this hasn't happened since 9 April 1940, day of the German invasion in WW II.
  • Ministers may hold a seat in parliament, but they don't need to. Supreme Court judges — according to convention — may not hold a seat whilst also acting as judges.
  • Ministers may — even if they are not MPs — demand talking time whenever they want.
  • Bills may be brought before parliament by members (private bills) and ministers. Bills are predominantly brought before parliament by ministers, since they have the Law Office of the Ministry of Justice at their disposal. Instead of putting forward a private bill, the opposition usually put forward a proposal for parliamentary decision, i.e. a short resolution which addresses the subject and directs the relevant minister to propose a bill concerning it.

List of Speakers of the Folketing

From To Speaker of the Folketing Years of living
30 January 1850 3 August 1852 Carl Christoffer Georg Andræ, NL 1812–1893
4 October 1852 12 June 1853 Johan Nicolai Madvig, NL 1804–1886
13 June 1853 2 December 1859 Carl Edvard Rotwitt, BV 1812–1860
3 December 1859 2 December 1870 Laurids Nørgaard Bregendahl, NL 1811–1872
3 December 1870 30 September 1883 Christopher Krabbe, V 1833–1913
1 October 1883 2 October 1887[note 1] Christen Berg, V 1829–1891
3 October 1887 16 December 1894 Sofus Høgsbro, V 1822–1902
17 December 1894 16 April 1895 Rasmus Claussen, V 1835–1905
17 April 1895 4 October 1901 Sofus Høgsbro, V 1822–1902
5 October 1901 30 January 1905 Herman Trier, V 1845–1925
31 January 1905 14 March 1912 Anders Thomsen, V 1842–1920
15 March 1912 13 June 1913 Jens Christian Christensen, V 1856–1930
14 June 1913 29 March 1922 Niels Pedersen-Nyskov, V 1850–1922
7 April 1922 10 April 1924 Jørgen Jensen-Klejs, V 1863–1947
30 April 1924 24 November 1932 Hans Peter Hansen, S 1872–1953
30 November 1932 1 May 1933 Gerhard Nielsen, S 1871–1933
9 May 1933 30 October 1945 Hans Rasmussen, S 1873–1949
22 November 1945 22 February 1950 Julius Bomholt, S 1896–1969
23 February 1950 22 September 1964 Gustav Pedersen, S 1893–1975
6 October 1964 22 January 1968 Julius Bomholt, S 1896–1969
6 February 1968 30 September 1978 Karl Skytte, B 1908–1986
3 October 1978 8 December 1981 Knud Børge Andersen, S 1914–1984
22 December 1981 10 January 1989 Svend Jakobsen, S b. 1935
10 January 1989 3 October 1989 Erik Ninn-Hansen, C b. 1922
3 October 1989 15 January 1993 H. P. Clausen, C 1928–1998
27 January 1993 5 October 1994 Henning Rasmussen, S 1926–1997
5 October 1994 11 March 1998 Erling Olsen, S b. 1927
26 March 1998 11 March 2003†[note 2] Ivar Hansen, V 1938–2003
18 March 2003 13 November 2007 Christian Mejdahl, V b. 1939
28 November 2007 Incumbent Thor Pedersen, V b. 1945
References: [2][3][4]

See also


  1. ^ Sofus Høgsbro, V was acting speaker from 25 January to 24 July 1886
  2. ^ Ivar Hansen died in office. His successor was not appointed immediately, and in the meantime Svend Auken, S was acting speaker.


  1. ^ Det danske valgsystem. Valg til Folketinget (Danish). Ministry of the Interior and Social Affairs
  2. ^ Bomholt, Jul.; Fabricius, Knud; Hjelholt, Holger; Mackeprang, M.; Møller, Andr. (1953). "Rigsdagens formænd 1848-1949" (in Danish). Den danske rigsdag 1849-1949 bind VI. Copenhagen: J. H. Schultz Forlag. pp. 491. 
  3. ^ Skou, Kaare R. (2005) (in Danish). Dansk politik A-Å. Aschehoug. pp. 770. ISBN 87-11-11652-8. 
  4. ^ "Folketingets formænd siden 1933" (in Danish). Folketinget. Retrieved 2007-05-18. 

External links

Coordinates: 55°40′34″N 12°34′47″E / 55.67611°N 12.57972°E / 55.67611; 12.57972


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