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Denmark Government


The Kingdom of Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. As stipulated in the Danish Constitution, the monarch is not answerable for his or her actions, and his or her person is sacrosanct. The monarch appoints and dismisses the Prime Minister and other ministers. Before being validated through royal assent, all bills and important government measures must be discussed in the Statsrådet, a privy council headed by the monarch. The Danish privy council's protocols are secret.

While executive authority belongs to the monarch (as head of state), legislative authority is vested in the monarch and the Danish parliament conjointly. Judicial authority lies with the courts of justice.

Executive authority is exercised on behalf of the monarch by the prime minister and other cabinet ministers who head departments. The cabinet, including the prime minister, and other ministers collectively make up the government. These ministers are responsible to Folketinget (the Danish Parliament), the legislative body, which is traditionally considered to be supreme (that is, able to legislate on any matter and not bound by decisions of its predecessors).

The Folketing is the national legislature. It has the ultimate legislative authority according to the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, however questions over sovereignty have been brought forward because of Denmark’s entry into the European Union. In theory however, the doctrine prevails. Parliament consists of 179 members elected by proportional majority. Parliamentary elections are held at least every four years, but it is within the powers of the prime minister to call one sooner. On a vote of no confidence the parliament may force the entire government to resign. Administratively, Denmark proper is divided into 14 counties and one city, Copenhagen.

The Danish political system has traditionally generated coalitions. Most Danish post-war governments have been minority coalitions ruling with parliamentary support.

Since November 2001, the Danish Prime Minister has been Anders Fogh Rasmussen from the Venstre party, a center-right liberal party. The government is a coalition consisting of Venstre and the Conservative People's Party, with parliamentary support from the Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti). The three parties obtained a parliamentary major in the 2001 elections and maintained it virtually unchanged in the 2005 election. On October 24, 2007 an early election was called by the Prime Minister for November 13. The result was that the right-populist Danish People's party was strengthened while Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Venstre lost 6 mandates. The result ensured that Anders Fogh Rasmussen could continue to be prime minister for a third term.


Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Denmark
conventional short form: Denmark
local long form: Kongeriget Danmark
local short form: Danmark

Government type:
constitutional monarchy

name: Copenhagen
geographic coordinates: 55 40 N, 12 35 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions:
metropolitan Denmark - 5 regions (regioner, singular - region); Hovedstaden, Midtjylland, Nordjylland, Sjaelland, Syddanmark
note: an extensive local government reform merged 271 municipalities into 98 and 13 counties into five regions, effective 1 January 2007

first organised as a unified state in 10th century; in 1849 became a constitutional monarchy

National holiday:
none designated; Constitution Day, 5 June (1849) is generally viewed as the National Day

5 June 1953 constitution allowed for a unicameral legislature and a female chief of state

Legal system:
civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

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