Volt's way to
Denmark has the highest threshold for getting accepted onto the ballot in Europe. This affects the democratic debate & Volt wants to change this!
Time to open the doors to Danish democracy and change politics!
Today, Danish politics has revolving doors for politicians and barriers for new parties.
With the requirement of 70.680 signatures, Denmark has the highest threshold for getting on the ballot for the European Parliament elections and this does little to benefit neither Danish democratic debate nor trust in the political system.
The crisis in the Danish democratic system is clear: declining membership in political parties; increasing distrust of politicians and demonstrations in the streets.
Therefore, Danes should not fear new political parties - they should fear not having enough political parties!
Being added to the list is essential to participate in the public democratic debate.
Danish media does not tend to favour political parties not on the ballot. This means new parties get less speaking time, have a harder time getting their ideas heard and thus have a harder time collecting voter endorsements. This stifles democratic development.
This is why Denmark has not seen a new political party on the ballot where the leader was not a former politician or one that flirted with law-breaking or held extreme opinions to get in the media.
Volt is a bottom-up, citizen-driven, science-based, best-practice sharing party and movement that sees a deep need to change politics and safeguard the next generation, the climate and our community!
In March 2023 Volt submitted its notification to the Ministry of the Interior to be admitted to the ballot based on Danish legislation.
Chapter 3 of the European Parliament Election Act defines which parties are entitled to participate in European Parliament elections - we believe this covers Volt:
§ 10. Parties that have obtained representation in the Danish Parliament at a parliamentary election held no later than six weeks before the election day, and which six weeks before the election day are still represented in this, as well as parties that have obtained representation in the European Parliament at the last European Parliament election held and which six weeks before the election day are still represented in this, have the right to participate in European Parliament elections.
from The Parliament Magazine, 29 May 2019
"New European party Volt is celebrating after winning its first seat in the European elections, which it described as a “huge victory.”
Its German co-founder, Damian Boeselager, will represent the party in parliament.
The party polled highest in Germany with 248,824 votes, by far its best showing in the eight EU countries it contested the elections.
Volt, formed just two years ago after the EU Referendum in the UK, also polled 105,923 votes, 1.9 per cent of the vote, in the Netherlands, 41,959 in Sweden (1.1percent) and 32,291 votes in Spain (0.14percent).
The party, which describes itself as a grassroots movement rather than a political party, also contested the EU wide poll in Luxembourg, Belgium, Bulgaria and the UK.
It claimed to be the “first party to participate in the same programme in several EU Member States.”
"With this seat, Volt is committed to all Europeans. This is an important first step to reform the EU so that it is there for all residents" Damian Boeselager, Volt MEP
On Wednesday, Boeselager told this website, "With this seat, Volt is committed to all Europeans. This is an important first step to reform the EU so that it is there for all residents."
Further comment came from Christophe Calis, leader of Volt in Belgium, who said, “We see this as a huge milestone for European democracy.
Volt supporters from different countries will now see that they will get a voice in the European Parliament. This is a huge milestone for European democracy.”"
On Monday 6 March 2023, Volt submits a notification to the Election Unit under the Ministry of the Interior and Health, stating that Volt has a Member of the European Parliament and is therefore eligible to stand for election under Danish law.
It takes the Election Unit six weeks to reject Volt's notification.
These are the 4 incredible arguments that the Ministry of the Interior list as reasons to reject Volt and which we question:
- Putting Volt on the ballot could lead to a run on Danish democracy.
"One of the consequences would be that new parties whose party name has been approved by the Electoral Board (...) could become eligible to stand for election to the European Parliament solely on the basis of its membership of a major association of European parties which has obtained representation in the European Parliament in an election in one of the other 26 EU Member States." (Reply to Volt Danmark from the Ministry of the Interior and Health, doc. 595061)
A fear-based worst-case scenario that could lead to more participation in the Danish democratic process should not result in rejecting Volt's submission.
- The Ministry believes that Volt's submission circumvents §11 of the law, which specifies the required number of voter declarations to be eligible to stand for election.
"One of these consequences would be that new parties whose party name has been approved by the Electoral Board for the purpose of collecting electoral declarations pursuant to section 11(2) and (3) of the European Parliament Election Act could be authorised to stand for election to the European Parliament solely on the basis of their membership of a major association of European parties that has achieved representation in the European Parliament in an election in one of the other 26 EU Member States."
That such a consequence is intended must, however, be presumed to be unlikely, as this would create a very significant possibility of circumventing the requirement laid down in section 11(1) of the European Parliament Election Act for new parties wishing to stand for election to the European Parliament to collect a number of electoral declarations that corresponds to at least 2 per cent of all valid votes in the last parliamentary election (currently 70,680)."
But the essence of §10 is to recognise parties with MEPs as eligible to stand for election, thereby exempting them from collecting electoral declarations. One cannot deny the use of §10 by referring to §11 when that is the purpose of §10...
- Nor does the Ministry consider Volt to become eligible to stand in Denmark simply because Volt has obtained representation in the European Parliament through "an election in Germany."
"The purpose of the provision, which is now found in section 10(1) of the European Parliament Election Act. 1, according to its history, has thus been to ensure that Danish parties that wish to participate in the election of Danish members to the European Parliament and that have obtained representation in the European Parliament and continue to be represented therein, on an equal footing with Danish parties that wish to participate in the election of Danish members to the European Parliament and that have obtained representation in the Danish Parliament and continue to be represented therein, can be eligible to stand for election to the European Parliament without having to comply with a requirement for the collection of electoral declarations."
European Parliament elections are the same across Europe. The fact that it is organised differently is something the EU is doing away with. We also don't have 98 different ways of running for the National parliament, Folketinget…
Danish democracy is evolving and especially for the European Parliament elections we need to think European - the Ministry of the Interior's way of thinking goes against the development of a European community and that is not in Denmark's interests.
And remember: You still need to be voted in - it's not enough to be on the ballot paper.
- Lastly, the Ministry believes that since there are only 14 Danish seats in the European Parliament, there is no reason for Volt to participate in the electoral process at all..
“The fundamental consideration behind this requirement is to ensure that the parties entitled to stand as candidates enjoy a certain level of electoral support and thus have a real chance of being elected in an election in Denmark. The requirement of a certain level of electoral support must also be seen in the light of the fact that only 14 Members of the European Parliament are elected in Denmark and that the natural threshold is therefore quite high.”
The Ministry refuses to apply the law on the grounds that the rule should only apply to Danish parties - even though there are no national references in the preparatory work. The reference is to parties elected to the European Parliament, there is no mention of nationalities.
- Are you registered to vote in Denmark for the EU election? Check!
- Click Igangsæt Vælgerklæring on the Election Unit's website, you will need your MitID
- Follow the instructions and confirm that you would like to sign for Volt for the European Parliament and Parliamentary elections
- Wait 7 days
- Open the Voter Declaration page and NOW you can confirm your signature.
Attempt at lowering number of endorsements in Denmark fails - politicians nixes a lower threshold for democratic participation
For background, no other EU country requires new parties to document ALL of their voters BEFORE being admitted onto the ballot.
This is why Volt asked to come before the Committe for the Interior in support of bill 39 which, if passed, would significantly lower the number of endorsements required to get on the ballot.
On Tuesday 16 May, Volt appeared before the Committee of the Interior. Out of the 29 members of the committee, 5 showed up for the meeting and the live streaming wasn't working, so our members couldn't follow along.
Here is our submission, which asks the question: How do we get a HEALTHY democracy in Denmark with real access to the ballot paper?
With declining party membership, we shouldn't be afraid of having too many parties - we should be afraid of not having enough parties!
10 days later, Volt receives a response to our enquiry - the Ministry of the Interior believes that voters have an expectation that parties on the ballot paper can be voted in.
What happened to the democratic debate? Voters should have an expectation that parties that want to be nominated have positions that they want to debate in the public sphere:
Minister Sophie Løhde elaborates:
"There is a consideration for voters, who already have to navigate between many parties in European Parliament elections. As a voter, you also have an expectation that the party you have voted for can obtain a mandate in the European Parliament. Therefore, I think it is most fair to the voters that a party has a certain level of support from the voters before the party is on the ballot paper."
Limiting democratic participation only benefits those in power, not the people.
The Ombudsman has asked the Ministry of the Interior to elaborate on their reasons for rejection our claim
On 24 May 2023, the Ombudsman received a complaint about this decision and on 4 July 2023, the complaint was forwarded to the Ministry of the Interior on the following grounds:
"It does not appear that the Ministry of the Interior and Health in its decision has expressly considered whether the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as provided for in the above-mentioned memorandum, applies when assessing whether Volt Denmark is ready to stand for election to the European Parliament in Denmark and, if so, what significance the Charter has for the Ministry's decision.
I have therefore today decided to send a copy of your request of 24 May 2023, together with the attachments you have sent me, to the Ministry of the Interior and Health (…)
Finally, the Ministry has the opportunity to elaborate on which specific statements from the first reading of Bill L 175 of 4 March 1983 that the Ministry has attached importance to in its assessment that the provision in section 10(1) of the European Parliamentary Elections Act was inserted for the sake of equating the parties that at the last parliamentary election had obtained representation in the Folketing and continued to be represented therein with the parties that at the last European Parliamentary election had obtained representation in the European Parliament and continued to be represented therein."