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Didn't you follow along for almost 18 hours? Here are five key points from Folketinget's closing debate.

DR-Politics in Politics

Thursday, May 30, 2024 • 3:34 AM UTC - in Politics

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Did you miss out on all but 18 hours? Here are five key moments from Folketing's closing debate


Folketing's closing debate is over. Politicians can now have a lot of free time, which is almost 18 hours.

The annual closing debate lasted 17 hours and 41 minutes this year. (Photo: © Ida Marie Odgaard, Ritzau Scanpix)

By Olivia Høj ([email protected]) 18 minutes ago

After 17 hours and 41 minutes of marathon debate, the Danish parliament year is now formally closed - at least for the time being - with the annual closing debate.

Parliamentarians ranged from light-hearted references to the film "Blinking Lights," to more serious debates about the conflict in the Middle East, climate, and immigration policy.

Here's a look at what filled a significant portion or is worth noting from the long debate.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (S) during the closing debate in the Danish Parliament on Christiansborg. (Photo: © Ida Marie Odgaard, Ritzau Scanpix)

The day began with a prime minister on the defensive. In fact, Mette Frederiksen (S) admitted: She had underestimated opposition to the abolition of a public holiday - and that it was wrong to start a debate on Danes' working hours.

From the podium, she stood firm on the decision to abolish a public holiday but faced questions about whether Danes believe her.

According to DR's political analyst Jens Ringberg, the big question now is whether Danes trust the prime minister when she says she believes it.

- It can be difficult to retract political statements – and to change people's perception of what a politician has said. It can sometimes be as difficult as putting toothpaste back in the tube, he says.

You can read more about this story via the link here ().

Also read: Prime Minister 'corrects' statements on work ethic – but it may be difficult to convince Danes she means it ().

Liberal Alliance leader Alex Vanopslagh filled a significant portion of the closing debate. Not because he did anything in particular but because he answered many of the questions posed by Social Democrats in the parliament.

Social Democrats launched a hunt for answers from Liberal Alliance leader and his allies.

- Almost every day I wake up and see all the attention I get from Social Democrats, so I rub my arms and think, 'I can't believe my own luck' with all the advertising I get, Vanopslagh replied.

You can read more about the many jabs and see videos via the link here ().

Also read: Social Democrats couldn't stop jabbing at Vanopslagh: 'Thanks for all the attention' ().

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (S) and Social Democrats' political spokesperson Christian Rabjerg Madsen during the closing debate in the Danish Parliament. (Photo: © Ida Marie Odgaard, Ritzau Scanpix)

It wasn't just Vanopslagh who was subjected to a more or less coordinated attack - if you want to call it that. The governing parties Social Democrats and Moderates had to answer some questions from the blue parties in the chamber as well.

Berlingske has recently reported on political meetings where both have contained Muslim prayers, gender segregation, and Quran recitation with participation from representatives of the governing parties.

Minister of Business Morten Bødskov (S) participated in such a meeting in 2017, while a candidate for the European Parliament for the Moderates has participated in a similar meeting during the ongoing campaign for the European Parliament election on June 9.

Social Democrats' political spokesperson, Christian Rabjerg Madsen, defended himself, among other things, with the immigration policy led by social democratic-led governments - and which he believes is stricter than the one led by Inger Støjberg (DD) when she was the immigration and integration minister in Venstre.

Pelle Dragsted, political spokesperson for the Red-Green Alliance, believes that one should pack one's bags and find another party if one believes what a party member has said. (ARCHIVE PHOTO) (Photo: © Nils Meilvang, Ritzau Scanpix)

A member of the Red-Green Alliance is in connection with the party's annual meeting in early May came with some statements that party political spokesperson, Pelle Dragsted, corrected after questions from the Danish People's Party's Susie Jessen.

The member has compared Hamas to Danish resistance groups during World War II and said he could see the Red-Green Alliance collaborating with the terror organization in the future.

Some statements Dragsted called "completely horrible."

- If there are members of the Red-Green Alliance - I hope there aren't, and I don't think there are - who still think we should support the killing of civilians, terror, war crimes against civilians, then I think that's completely out of the woods. It's incomprehensible to me, Dragsted said.

- And it's not just against our politics. It's against our fundamental principles in the Red-Green Alliance. And if one is in conflict with a party's fundamental principles, then I think one should pack one's bags and find a party one agrees with. He continued.

Read more about the case here ().

Javnaðarflokkurin's Sjúrður Skaale received high praise for his speech during Folketing's closing debate. (ARCHIVE PHOTO) (Photo: © Liselotte Sabroe, Ritzau Scanpix)

Normally, Faroese Sjúrður Skaale from Javnaðarflokkurin is known for delivering humorous speeches, but on Thursday night, he used his speaking time for something much more serious.

It was about the conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. He said, among other things, that Hamas was blinded by its attack on the country and that Israel's reaction had gone too far, even though they had the right to defend themselves.

Frederik Vad (S) called the speech the best of the closing debate, and the same went for Alex Vanopslagh (LA).

- I haven't heard anything like that in the Folketing, said Inger Støjberg (DD) in her praise of the speech.

All the praise was met with acknowledging nods from Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (S).

Pia Kjærsgaard (DF) was far from satisfied when the debate came to a close. (ARCHIVE PHOTO) (Photo: © Ida Marie Odgaard, Ritzau Scanpix)

The day ended with a comment from Pia Kjærsgaard from the Danish People's Party. The long debates are too much, she said from the podium.

- It's getting absurd. This isn't worth it for the parliament, she said with a reference to the almost 18 hours that the Folketing had sat in the chamber for debate.

The day's debate broke the record according to Ritzau. With its 17 hours and 41 minutes, it surpasses the record from 1994.

In 1994 under Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (S), the closing debate lasted 16 hours and 41 minutes. There were also two hours of breaks. The same was the case on Thursday.

Pia Kjærsgaard also said that the debate on stress, illness, and poor communication in the Folketing is not solved by such long meetings.

- It's not worthy of the parliament.

Folketing's speaker, Søren Gade (V), said that there had been no objections to the way the day's debate should be held before the meeting. He also referred to the possibility of filing a complaint with the presidium.

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