Obviously, Ugebrevet A4 has much better sources than I do, but this (and the fact that the newsletter’s story about the possible composition of a Helle Thorning-Schmidt government hasn’t been published yet) should not deter any political scientist with just a hint of self-esteem to comment.
First of all, we need to find a key for distributing the portfolios. This is the easy part: Generally, parties receive portfolios relative to their electoral performance and share of seats in parliament. If we assume that the government will be a three-party affair including the Social Democrats, SF and the Social Liberals, the latest Berlingske Barometer tells us to expect something like this:
SocDem – 28,9 % / 51
SF – 13,9 % / 25
SocLib – 6,1 % / 11
This, incidentally, makes 87 seats – one short of a majority of the continental Danish seats, so Helle Thorning-Schmidt will be hoping for winning the support of three of the four North Atlantic MPs in order to command a full majority. But in the real world, this could just as well be 84 or 90 seats. September will tell us.
Anyway – our key is: SocDem = 0,59, SF = 0,29, RV = 0,13 (and, yes, this makes 1,01). If we assume that the government will have 20 members, this makes SocDem = 11,8, SF = 5,8 and RV = 2,6. If SocDem cedes one portfolio, we will have a government of 11 Social Democrats, 6 SF and 3 Social Liberals.
It is a no-brainer to assume that Helle Thorning-Schmidt will be prime minister but this raises the issue of what to do with the two other party leaders. According to Information’s report, the SocLibs’ Margrethe Vesterager will take the Economic Planning portfolio (resurrected after being merged with Trade and Industry during the Lib-Con years) and SF’s Villy Søvndal Foreign Affairs.
Next, I’ve grouped portfolios into clusters which I think form the basis of discussions over the detailed distributions. Abbreviations in italics are my guesses, those in normal UgebrevetA4’s.
Prime Minister – SD (Helle Thorning-Schmidt)
Foreign Office – SF (Villy Søvndal)
Economic Planning – SL (Margrethe Vestager)
Note: This sounds likely to me. The question is if SF’s Villy Søvndal will take the FO. It has never really been his main field and I would probably put my money on Holger K. Nielsen, the former SF chairman who is now a sort of elder SF statesman.
Finance – SD (Henrik Sass Larsen)
Taxation – SD
Note: No guess about taxation? Okay, we’ll put some Social Democrat here.
Employment – SD
Social Affairs – SF
Interior and Health – SD
Note: Employment is the big prize here and SocDem will take it. Period. I could imagine Villy Søvndal making a Bengt Westerberg and take up a Social Affairs portfolio. It is a gamble, though, because SocA is heavy on delivery.
Trade and Industry – SF
Food and Agriculture – SD
Environment – SL
Climate and Energy – SF
Overseas Development – SD
Transport – SD
Note: SF’s hatchet man Ole Sohn at Trade and Industry? Sounds possible. I think SocDem will take Food and Agriculture but the rest are five portfolios which could go any way. If SocLib take Environment, SF could take Energy and the other way around. Etc, etc.
Justice – SD (Morten Bødskov)
Integration – SF
Defence – SD
Note: Sounds reasonable to me. Putting somebody from SF on integration is pure guesswork from my side. It is a poisonous portfolio and it could be abolished in a coming government.
Education – SD (SL)
Cultural Affairs and Ecclestiastics – SF
Research – SL (Morten Østergaard) (SD)
Note: I really can’t see the SocLibs wanting to cede Education. If SocDem wants this portfolio they will have to pay the SocLibs with some heavy portfolio. Cultural Affairs and Research can go either way.
I will update this with a new post when UgebrevetA4’s article is published. (Update: Here is A4’s article. Will get back to it later today)
PS: The next speaker of the Folketing? If the left wing wins, I’d put my money on Social Democratic veteran Mogens Lykketoft.