Red–Green Alliance (Denmark)

Red–Green Alliance

Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne
LeaderCollective leadership
Political spokespersonPernille Skipper
Founded2 December 1989
Merger ofLeft Socialists
Communist Party of Denmark
Socialist Workers Party
Communist Workers Party independents
HeadquartersStudiestræde 24, 1
1455 København K
Youth wingNone, though cooperating with Socialist Youth Front
IdeologyDemocratic socialism[1]
Soft Euroscepticism[1][3][4]
Political positionLeft-wing[5][6] to far-left[7]
European affiliationMaintenant le Peuple
Party of the European Left
European Anticapitalist Left
European Parliament groupEuropean United Left/Nordic Green Left[8]
Nordic affiliationNordic Green Left Alliance
13 / 179
European Parliament
1 / 14
12 / 205
102 / 2,432
Election symbol
National Coat of arms of Denmark.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The Red–Green Alliance (Danish: Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne, literally Unity List – The Red–Greens,[11] abbreviated Enhl. or Ø) is an eco-socialist[1] political party in Denmark. It is the furthest left party in the Danish Parliament, advocating for socialist democracy in Denmark and internationally.

Political and ideological position

The party describes itself as a socialist and democratic grassroots party, which claims also to represent green politics, peace movement, anti-discrimination and trade union movement.

The party's ideological position is set out in a manifesto from 2014.[12] It proposes that a socialistic society of the future "neither can nor should be described in detail, but rather be developed and shaped by the people living in it". It describes socialism as "an answer to the problems caused by capitalism such as non-sufficient democracy, crises, destruction of nature, inequality, racism and war".[12] About the economic system, it says:

A new and actually democratic system of society requires fundamental changes in the ownership of the means of production, such as companies, land and natural resources. Collective forms of ownership will be dominating. We propose that public authorities, co-workers, local communities and other collectives of persons should own and run institutions and companies. [...] A democratic economy means a democratic work life as well. The work place should be characterized by democracy, and the employees must have a constitutional right to decisive influence on the organization of work in the workplace.[12]

The methods advocated for achieving this may be different, depending on the course of class struggle, but will eventually require a revolution - one that must be supported by a majority of the population manifested through democratic and free elections.[12]

The party often adopts particular views in relation to the other parties in the Folketing and opt out of many of the settlements reached, seen as an expression of class collaboration. Until the conditions for the party's long-term goal are presented, however, the party will use its seats in parliament to vote for any improvement and against any deterioration of working-class people's lives. In line with this, the party agreed at its national conference in 2010 that if Helle Thorning-Schmidt became Prime Minister after the 2011 election, the party would vote for a "red" budget bill that did not contain obvious flaws.


Social policy

The party places great emphasis on the fight against social inequality and poverty, and is in favour of strengthening and expanding the welfare state. The party believes there is place in society for all forms of diversity, including gender, sexuality, disability and ethnic background.[13] It also advocates for a larger public sector, among other things, to improve quality of life for public sector employees.[14]

The party believes people should be free to choose when they want to get an education and is opposed to tuition fees, which they believe harm opportunities for everyone to acquire an education.[15] The party does not see unemployment as being equal to laziness and seeks to abolish the Danish equivalent of workfare.[16]

Economic policy

The party is decisively anti-capitalist and has particularly distinguished itself as an opponent of transfer pricing, whereby multinational companies minimise the amount they pay in tax by attributing their profits to countries with lower tax rates.

According to the party, the global economic crisis should be resolved through the stricter control of loans, the introduction of a Tobin tax, and the nationalisation of the banks and mortgage companies. It says the public sector must be expanded, the wages of the lowest-paid workers should be raised, and the insurance-based unemployment benefit period should be extended to a minimum of four years. At the same time, students should be given a greater state education grant.[17] At minimum, all benefits should be raised to 13,500 kroner per month before taxes.[16]

Foreign policy

The party advocates for foreign policy based on respect for human rights, which it believes has not been appropriately prioritised in the past. It also proposes greater support for developing countries through a doubling of foreign aid,[18] and campaigns for Denmark's withdrawal from NATO. In March 2019, the party announced it would no longer campaign for a referendum to leave the EU, pointing to Brexit illustrating the need for clarity before withdrawal can be considered.[19]

The party operates on the fundamental belief that peace is preferable to war, and has been opposed from the beginning to Denmark's participation in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That principle was challenged in 2011, when the party's parliamentary group voted in favour of Danish participation in the UN-sanctioned military action in Libya on the basis that it was a humanitarian action.[20] However, the decision led to significant backlash, and the party's support was pulled back after the military intervention began.[21]


The party was formed in 1989 as an electoral alliance of three left-wing parties: Left Socialists (VS), Communist Party of Denmark (DKP), and Socialist Workers Party (SAP). Originally the plan was to unite these parties alongside The Greens (De Grønne), Common Course, and Humanist to form a broad-based progressive movement, but this did not materialize.[22] A fourth party, the Communist Workers Party (KAP), succeeded in joining the alliance in 1991, but its involvement was vetoed a year later by DKP.

Prior to the 2007 parliamentary election, the party enlisted Asmaa Abdol-Hamid, a Danish Muslim candidate who identified herself as a feminist, democrat, and socialist.[23] She is endorsed by some imams, opposed by others (including those in Hizb-ut-Tahrir), wears a hijab and will not shake hands with men.[24] These facts, and some of her statements regarding politics and religion, made her the target of some criticism across the political spectrum, particularly from the Danish People's Party. Some left-wing figures cited her candidacy as a reason for withdrawing their support from the party.[25] An anti-religious network was created within the party with the stated goal of turning the party into a solely atheist party with a materialistMarxist basis.[26]

During the campaign, there was some speculation as to whether her candidacy would attract or repel voters.[27][28] The results of the election were 2.2% for the party, down from 3.4% in the 2005 parliamentary elections. Although not elected, Abdol-Hamid maintained that she had attracted voters to the party. The four seats won by the party went to Frank Aaen, Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, Line Barfod, and Per Clausen.

In the 2011 parliamentary election, the party received 6.7% of the vote and tripled its representation from 4 seats to 12 seats.

The party contested the 2013 local elections on a platform of improving public transport and making greater public investment.[29]

As part of the left-leaning "Red bloc" coalition with Socialdemokraterne, Enhedslisten accepted the state budget twice and was in opposition twice in the period from 2011 to 2015. At no point, however, did they report direct opposition to the government. In the 2015 general election, the party received 7.8% of the vote and increased its representation from 12 seats to 14 seats.

Electoral performance

Parliament (Folketinget)

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
Danish vote
# of
overall seats won
# of
Danish seats won
+/– Government
1990 54,038 1.7
0 / 179
0 / 175
1994 104,701 3.1
6 / 179
6 / 175
Increase 6 in opposition
1998 91,933 2.7
5 / 179
5 / 175
Decrease 1 providing parliamentary support
2001 82,685 2.4
4 / 179
4 / 175
Decrease 1 in opposition
2005 114,123 3.4
6 / 179
6 / 175
Increase 2 in opposition
2007 74,982 2.2
4 / 179
4 / 175
Decrease 2 in opposition
2011 236,860 6.7
12 / 179
12 / 175
Increase 8 providing parliamentary support
2015 274,463 7.8
14 / 179
14 / 175
Increase 2 in opposition
2019 244,664 6.9
13 / 179
13 / 175
Decrease 1 providing parliamentary support

The distribution of Red–Green Alliance's voters is geographically disparate. While in Nørrebro and Vesterbro districts of Copenhagen, it was the strongest party in the 2015 election, scoring 26.5 and 20.8% respectively (in Bispebjerg it received 22%, placing it only slightly behind the Social Democrats), the party is much more weakly positioned in rural parts of Denmark, taking only an average of 4.5% of votes in Western Jutland with as little as 3.1% in the Ringkøbing district.

European Parliament

Prior to 2016, the Red–Green Alliance never directly contested elections to the European Parliament, preferring to support the People's Movement against the EU, a Eurosceptic party whose MEP sits in the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group. Some of the party's MPs were considering running an independent list for the 2014 elections,[30] but this idea was dismissed by a majority on the party's yearly meeting.[31]

In a historic decision in the party's yearly meeting in May 2016, a majority decided to directly contest the 2019 European Parliament election.[32]

Year Group Votes % Rank Seats +/-
2019 GUE/NGL 151,903 5.5% 7th
1 / 14


Year # +/-
1992 1,082 N/A
1993 999 −7.7%
1994 1,093 +9.4%
1995 1,189 +8.8%
1996 1,282 +7.8%
1997 1,479 +15.4%
1998 2,023 +36.8%
1999 1,968 −2.7%
2000 1,945 −1.1%
2001 1,992 +2.4%
2002 2,366 +18.8%
2003 2,321 −1.9%
2004 2,524 +8.7%
2005 3,739 +48.1%
2006 4,127 +10.4%
2007 4,099 −0.7%
2008 4,336 +5.8%
2009 4,373 +0.9%
2010 5,111 +16.9%
2011 7,885 +54.3%
2012 9,385 +21.7%
2013 9,483 +1.0%

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Denmark". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  2. ^ Åsa Bengtsson; Kasper Hansen; Ólafur Þ Harõarson; Hanne Marthe Narud; Henrik Oscarsson (15 November 2013). The Nordic Voter: Myths of Exceptionalism. ECPR Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-907301-50-6.
  3. ^ https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/anita-nissen/uk-and-denmark-growing-public-euroscepticism
  4. ^ "EU-politik". enhedslisten.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Imagining the Peoples of Europe - populist discourses across the political spectrum. Edited by Jan Zienkowski and Ruth Breeze. p. 149. Chapter 6. Chapter author - Óscar García Agustín. Published by John Benjamins Publishing Company in 2019. Retrieved via Google Books.
  7. ^
    • March, Luke (2008). Contemporary Far Left Parties in Europe (PDF). Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. p. 3. ISBN 978-3-86872-000-6.
    • Edwards, Geoffrey; Georg Wiessala (2000). The European Union: annual review 1998/1999. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-631-21598-1.
    • Banks, Arthur S.; Thomas C. Muller (1995). Political Handbook of the World 1994–95. CSA Publications. p. 234. ISBN 978-0-933199-10-1.
    • Government and opposition, Volume 34. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. 1999. p. 73.
  8. ^ "Enhedslisten-GUE/NGL".
  9. ^ "AKVA3: Valg til regions råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  10. ^ "VALGK3: Valg til kommunale råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  11. ^ Gemma Loomes (17 June 2013). Party Strategies in Western Europe: Party Competition and Electoral Outcomes. Routledge. pp. 201–. ISBN 978-1-136-59303-1. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d "Enhedslistens principprogram". Enhedslisten. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Plads til alle". Enhedslisten. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Flere hænder, mere i løn". Enhedslisten. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Børn og uddannelse". Enhedslisten. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Ulighed og fattigdom". Enhedslisten. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Velfærd til alle". Archived from the original on 17 July 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  18. ^ Enhedslisten på Folketingets hjemmeside
  19. ^ Hvass, Jesper; Rytgaard, Nikolaj (15 March 2019). "Enhedslisten parkerer krav om dansk udmeldelse af EU efter britisk kaos". Jyllands-Posten (in Danish). Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Enhedslisten stemmer for humanitær aktion i Libyen". Enhedslisten. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  21. ^ Oliver Routhe Skov og Turi Kjestine Meyhoff. "Enhedslisten trækker støtten til Libyen-krigen". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  22. ^ "Enhedslistens historie". Enhedslisten. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Feminist, socialist, devout Muslim: woman who has thrown Denmark into turmoil". The Guardian. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  24. ^ Imamer anbefaler Asmaa, Kristeligt Dagblad, 1 May 2007
  25. ^ Kære Asmaa, Information, 1 September 2007
  26. ^ Religionskrig hos Enhedslisten[permanent dead link], aalborg.dk, 20 September 2007
  27. ^ Asmaa kan sprænge Enh's partiliste i København Archived 4 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Politiken, 2 November 2007
  28. ^ Ekspert: Asmaa har skræmt marxisterne Archived 3 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Politiken, 1 November 2007
  29. ^ "Party profile: Enhedslisten". 9 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  30. ^ "Red–Green Alliance puts pressure to People's Movement Against the EU". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). 27 March 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  31. ^ "Red–Green Alliance scraps EU election run". Berlingske (in Danish). 27 April 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  32. ^ "Red–Green Alliance will run independently in the next European Parliament election" (in Danish). Danmarks Radio. 15 May 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.

External links

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