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World > Europe > Denmark > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Denmark - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. Queen Margrethe II has largely ceremonial functions; probably her most significant formal power lies in her right to appoint the prime minister and cabinet ministers, who are responsible for administration of the government. However, she must consult with parliamentary leaders to determine the public's will, since the cabinet may be dismissed by a vote of no confidence in the Folketing (parliament). Cabinet members are occasionally recruited from outside the Folketing.

The 1953 constitution established a unicameral Folketing of not more than 179 members, of whom two are elected from the Faroe Islands and two from Greenland. Elections are held at least every 4 years, but the prime minister can dissolve the Folketing at any time and call for new elections. Folketing members are elected by a complicated system of proportional representation; any party receiving at least 2% of the total national vote receives representation. The result is a multiplicity of parties (seven represented in the Folketing after the February 2005 general election), none of which holds a majority. Electorate participation normally is around 80-85%.

The judicial branch consists of about 100 local courts, two high courts, several special courts (e.g., arbitration and maritime), and a Supreme Court of 15 judges appointed by the crown on the government's recommendation.

Since a structural reform of local government passed by the Folketing in 2004 and 2005, Denmark has been divided into five regions and 98 municipalities. The regions and municipalities are both led by councils elected every four years, but only the municipal councils have the power to levy taxes. Regional councils are responsible for health services and regional development, while the municipal councils are responsible for day care, elementary schools, care for the elderly, culture, environment, and roads.

The Faroe Islands and Greenland enjoy home rule, with the Danish Government represented locally by high commissioners. These home rule governments are responsible for most domestic affairs, with foreign relations, monetary affairs, and defense falling to the Danish Government.

Principal Government Officials
Monarch--Queen Margrethe II
Prime Minister--Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Ministers
Economic and Business Affairs--Bendt Bendtsen
Foreign Affairs--Per Stig Moeller
Finance--Thor Pedersen
Employment--Claus Hjort Frederiksen
Justice--Lene Espersen
Culture--Brian Mikkelsen
Refugees, Immigration and Integration Affairs--Ms. Rikke Hvilshoj
Development Cooperation--Ms. Ulla Tornaes
Taxation--Kristian Jensen
Transport and Energy--Flemming Hansen
Science, Technology and Innovation--Helge Sander
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries--Hans Christian Schmidt
Defense--Soren Gade
Environment and Nordic Cooperation--Connie Hedegaard
Interior and Health--Lars Loekke Rasmussen
Education and Ecclesiastical Affairs--Bertel Haarder
Social Affairs and Gender Equality--Eva Kjer Hansen
Family and Consumer Affairs--Lars Barfoed

Ambassador to the United States--Friis Arne Petersen
Ambassador to the United Nations--Carsten Staur

Denmark maintains an embassy at 3200 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008-3683 (tel. 202-234-4300). Consulates general are in Chicago and New York.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Danish Krone Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Danish Krone Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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