Just a short note about this: Last week some geniuses at Ritzaus Bureau had the idea to run a poll about Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s popularity. The thing is, that Ritzau asked if voters felt that Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s hypothetical resignation should be the reason to call an early election. 6 out of 10 of those asked said so.
This raises an interesting problem: Neither journalists, nor voters seem to be aware of the fact that Denmark is a parliamentary democracy. This means that voters elect the legislature, but not the executive, while the executive depends on the confidence of the legislature. Yes, it’s complicated but the point is that the electorate does not choose the executive.
So, where did we get to this? Some quick thoughts:
- Those asked, answered a different question. Instead of answering the question “should the executive be directly elected?”, they answered the question “do I prefer a Liberal or a Social-Democratic Prime Minister right now?”
- Journalists asked the wrong question: Instead of asking “do you prefer a Liberal or a Social-Democratic Prime Minister right now?”, they asked “should the executive be directly elected?”
- Neither part can tell the difference between a specific question about persons and a general question about constitutions.
- Journalists cannot conceive of politics in anything but personal terms. Policies and institutions are considered irrelevant.
- Journalists think the Danish political system works like the US political system where the executive is elected indirectly by the electorate.
Anyway: If we want to take the premise of the poll seriously, then we must assume that there are very strict limits on what parliament and government can do during an electoral term and that there are some kind of general criteria for a recall of a parliament. And here things will get really complicated.