As the Danish election campaign enters its last frenetic stage, the question of possible alliances and especially gets more and more attention – especially in the media (In Danish politico slang, this is know as the letter game). The story about secret negotiations between the Liberals and New Alliance is interesting – but not really surprising to a weathered political scientist.
A short reflection on this could be that:
- New Alliance was in fact formed to keep the centre-right in office while at the same time minimising Danish People’s Party’s power. Hence, NA has to prefer Anders Fogh Rasmussen to Helle Thorning Schmidt as Prime Minister.
- NA’s problem is to find a credible threat against AFR: Calling for the government’s resignation and an open round of negotiations is one possibility – but the events after the 1987 election should serve as a warning. Making NA’s support conditional of policy concessions makes perfect sense as an alternative – provided the threat of a vote of no confidence is credible (See under: 1975).
- It makes perfect sense for AFR (and the Liberals and Conservatives in general) to a) try and persuade potential Liberal and Conservative voters to go for the real thing instead of the proxy or b) try and call NA’s bluff in advance.
- I think Anders Samuelsen – who, as I see it, is very much the brains of the NA outfit – knew what he was doing by creating a link to the Liberals.
And it is probably a problem for NA that Naser Khader has been tangled into stories about tax evasion and moonlighting. Policy issues are eclipsed in the reporting.
Oh, and the Norwegians think Denmark looks like a banana republic. The Norwegian reporter actually has a point.