There are three types of elections in Denmark: elections to the national parliament (the Folketing), local elections and elections to the European Parliament. Referendums may also be called to consult the Danish citizenry directly on an issue of national concern.
Parliamentary elections are called by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, usually four years after the last election, although early elections may occur. Elections to local councils (municipal or regional) and to the European Parliament are held on fixed dates. Elections use the party-list proportional representation system. Only citizens on the national register are eligible to vote in parliamentary elections and long-time residents may vote in local elections.
The Kingdom of Denmark (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland) elects a unicameral parliament, the Folketing, on a national level. Of the 179 members of parliament, the Faroe Islands and Greenland elect two members each, 135 are elected from ten multi-member constituencies on a party list PR system using the d'Hondt method and the remaining 40 seats are allocated to ensure proportionality at a national level. To get a share of supplementary seats a party needs to get at least 2% of the total number of votes.
For Denmark proper, the “Red” bloc (A+B+F+Ø+Å) won 85 seats and the “Blue” bloc (V+O+I+C+K) 90 seats. Even with all of the extra four seats from Greenland and the Faroe Islands going to the “Red” bloc, it would still be one seat behind the “Blue” bloc.
The option for one third of the members of the Parliament to put a law to a referendum has a number of restrictions. Finance Bills, Supplementary Appropriation Bills, Provisional Appropriation Bills, Government Loan Bills, Civil Servants (Amendment) Bills, Salaries and Pensions Bills, Naturalization Bills, Expropriation Bills, Taxation (Direct and Indirect) Bills, as well as Bills introduced for the purpose The Work of Parliament of discharging existing treaty obligations shall not be decided by a referendum. (Section 42, Subsection 6 of the Constitution)
Even though the Constitution of Denmark requires referendum to be held only if super-majority of five sixths of members of Parliament cannot be obtained, in practise, referendums have been held every time new treaties of the European Union have been approved, even when more than five sixths can be found. Recently, the Danish government was highly criticized when it did not hold a referendum regarding the controversial Lisbon treaty.
In all three cases, to defeat the proposition the no votes must not only outnumber the yes votes, they must also number at least 30% of the electorate.
The Constitution of Denmark can be changed only after a referendum, after a complicated procedure (Section 88 of the Constitution). First a government proposes a change in constitution, then a parliamentary election is held. After the new parliament approves the same text of the constitutional changes, the proposal is put to a referendum. To pass, the yes votes must not only outnumber the no votes, they must also number at least 40% of the electorate.