Given all the stories about more or less open conspiracies behind the selection of mayors in a number of councils following November’s local elections in Denmark, somebody had to come up with the idea of introducing direct elections of mayors. In this case, the Danish People’s Party took the plunge while everybody else immediately rejected the idea.
As it is, we only have to go south of the border to encounter directly elected mayors but we should remember that there are differences between the range of competences Danish and German local councils have.
From the top of my head, I could imagine the following arguments for and against introducing direct elections in Denmark
1. No secret behind-the-curtain deals.
2. Fewer incentives for councillors to change parties immediately following an election.
1. Risk of the mayor and council majority having different colours.
2. The Danish system will still be committee-based, i.e. there will still be incentives for behind-the-curtain deals after an election.
A third alternative could be to introduce local government parliamentarianism where the council majority has the opportunity to de-select the mayor and reopen the distribution of committee chairmanships during the electoral term.
I don’t have any empirical evidence to point to here, so I will let the question stand.