I must admit that this round of campaigns has put me in a bit of a predicament. As a certified political scientist, I really ought to have enjoyed any second of a vigorious electoral campaign, but my impression is that the campaign has been less than inspiring. This is even more strange, given that more than a handful of the local councils are up for grabs.1 The Liberal Party looks set for an embarrassing result at the polls and at the later selection of mayors – and the party has responded by lowering expectations and withdrawing the party leader, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, from tomorrow’s
post-mortem rounding-up. Kristian Jensen was given the unenviable task of defending the liberal colours.
The campaign in Copenhagen more or less died when the Social Democrats pulled Frank Jensen out of the hat. The big issue here is if the Danish People’s Party will win enough votes to get one of the seven mayor portfolios (in all likelihood the integration portforlio – something which will surely guarantee four years of conflict in the City Council). I suspect that even the Social Liberals will not be missing Klaus Bondam.
The campaign in Århus … faggetaboutit. Nikolaj Wammen. End of message.
Among the larger cities, the elections in Odense and Kolding have more than a shadow of excitement over them. In Kolding, the long-serving Social Democratic mayor Per Bødker Andersen is in trouble because of the council’s economic problems, while Odense looks set to return Social Democrat Anker Boye to the position he lost to the Conservative Jan Boye four years ago.2
Hey, wait: Odense should be exciting, so what have I been missing here? Let’s see:
1. Less than inspiring candidates. I mean: After considering the question thoroughly the local Social Democrats came up with … Anker Boye. Right? And Jan Boye was supposed to be a breath of fresh air, but but but… Well. Yes. Exactly.
2. Economic constraints. Earlier this year, we were warned that while the local council wasn’t on the brink of an economic collapse, there would be serious constraints to the initiatives the council will be able to fund in the coming four-year period.
3. In the doldrums. I haven’t made any systematic analysis of this, but my impression is that Funen in general and Odense in particular have been missing out on the economic development in the last decade or so.3 The closing of Lindø Shipyard will continue to put the local economy under pressure. The problem here is that the local council can only do so much for local and regional growth. That the Conservatives came up with some seriously dodgy statistics may be an illustration of the problem. The Social Democrats didn’t have much to speak for them in 2005, but neither do the Conservatives now.
4. And in any event, the government and the Folketing decides. Just say “hospitals” and “food for pensioners” and everybody will know what it meant by this.
Well, either way I will get a Boye. The question is which one is the least bad alternative.
Psst – regional councils …
Oh God, no…