Democracy and election
State, region and municipality
In Denmark, public sector tasks are divided between the State, the regions and the municipalities.
The State, a collective term for the Danish ministries and a number of institutions, has the overall responsibility for running the country. Among other things, the State is responsible for taxation, youth and higher education and foreign policy.
Denmark has five regions, their primary task being the running of the public health care service.
The 98 municipalities are the citizens’ entry to the public sector services. The municipalities are responsible for a wide range of tasks close to the daily lives of citizens, among other things employment, citizens’ services, childcare and primary and lower secondary education.
Democracy and freedom of speech
Denmark is a democratic society characterized by freedom, obligations and rights for everyone irrespective of gender, skin colour, cultural background, religion and sexual orientation.
Everyone is free to think, speak and write, form societies or practise their religion. Personal liberty and equality are fundamental to Danish society, and liberty is limited only by the duty to respect other people’s rights to freedom and equality.
Tripartition of power
The tripartition of power means that the legislative, executive and judiciary power is separated.
The legislative power
The Danish Parliament, Folketinget, is the legislative power which passes legislation in Denmark. The Danish Parliament has 179 members who are elected for a four-year period. The Prime Minister may call a general election before the end of the election period.
The executive power
The executive power is the government and the public administration – State, regions and municipalities – which uphold the laws passed by the Danish Parliament.
The government will typically consist of ministers from several parties. The government is headed by the Prime Minister, who appoints ministers for specific departments.
The government prepares bills which must be passed by the Parliament. Governmental institutions, regions and municipalities are responsible for the implementation of Danish acts.
The judiciary power
The judiciary is the system of courts which decides whether Danish legislation is complied with. The courts of law are independent.
There are 24 city courts, two high courts and one supreme court. The city court will typically be the court of first instance and city court decisions can be appealed to the high courts. High court decisions can be appealed to the Danish Supreme Court, but Supreme Court decisions cannot be appealed.
Elections for the Danish Parliament
The 179-seat Danish Parliament is made up of politicians from a number of political parties.
The party or parties supported by a parliamentary majority form(s) the government, which is headed by the prime minister.
Parliamentary elections are held at least every four years, but the prime minister can call an election earlier if he or she wishes to do so.
Who can vote at elections for the Danish Parliament?
Any person who has attained the age of 18 years, is a Danish citizen and lives in Denmark is eligible to vote for the Danish Parliament. People under guardianship who have been deprived of legal capacity, however, are ineligible to vote.
Municipal and regional elections
The five regions and 98 municipalities are run by regional, local or town councils.
Municipal and regional elections take place every four years.
Elections happen on a fixed date, the third Tuesday in November. It is not possible to call regional or municipal elections in the middle of an election period.
The next municipal and regional election will be in November 2021.
Who can vote?
Any person who has attained the age of 18 years and is resident in the local authority area is eligible to vote in the election to local and regional councils.
However, people who are not a national of Denmark, another EU Member State, Iceland or Norway may only vote if they have resided in Denmark for a period of three years prior to the election.
People under guardianship who have been deprived of legal capacity (previously known as “incapacitated adults”), however, are ineligible to vote.
Everyone who is entitled to vote is also eligible for election and can thus run for regional or municipal elections.
Elections for the European Parliament
The next election for the European Parliament is held on May 26 2019.
You can vote and run for the European Parliament in Denmark, if you:
- Are a citizen of one of the EU Member States
- Living in Denmark (you have a Danish CPR-number)
- You are more than 18 years of age on the day of election
In order to cast your vote, you must be enrolled in the electoral register in Denmark. To be enrolled you must forward an application to the municipality (kommune) where you live. Your municipality will need your application before April 23 2019.
If you live in Aarhus, you can deliver the application:
- In person, by visiting Borgerservice at Dokk1 or at the International Citizen Service (if you are at Dokk1 or the ICS to apply for a CPR number the application form will be given to you)
- Digitally, by sending it from your digital mailbox on borger.dk (lifeindenmark.dk). Send directly from this link, using your NemID.
- By ordinary mail to:
Folkeregister / Sygesikring
Hack Kampmanns Plads 2
8000 Aarhus C
Please do not send the application by email as it contains personal information.
Have you already been enrolled in the electoral register?
If you have been enrolled in the electoral register in Denmark for previous elections for the European Parliament you are automatically entitled to vote for future elections for the European Parliament. You do not have to do anything if you want to vote in the European Parliamentary elections on May 26 2019.
Are you a British citizen living in Denmark?