Hard Line (political party)
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Hard Line (Danish: Stram Kurs) is a far-right political party in Denmark founded in 2017 by Danish lawyer Rasmus Paludan. The party is almost exclusively associated with its founder and his anti-Islam activism and demonstrations.
The party was on the ballot in the 2019 Danish general election, where it gained 1.8% of the votes, below the 2% election threshold.
The party was founded in 2017 by Rasmus Paludan. It ran in six municipalities in the 2017 Danish local elections, but it failed to receive more than 200 votes in any municipality, preventing the party from gaining a seat on any council. It also ran unsuccessfully in two of the five Danish regions.
Paludan became known on YouTube, where videos on the party's channel have gained 20 million views as of April 2019. The videos were often filmed during demonstrations that Hard Line held in ghettoes in which Paludan deliberately provoked Muslims, for example by drawing Muhammad in order to gain views and attention. In 2018, the party held 53 demonstrations.
The party gained mainstream attention on 14 April that year, when Paludan held a demonstration at Nørrebro in Copenhagen. At the demonstration, Paludan was throwing the Quran and was attacked shortly after the demonstration began. The demonstration caused massive unrest at Nørrebro when protestors attacked the police. On the following days, Paludan was barred from continuing his demonstrations, both due to the risk to the public order and threats against Paludan.
On 27 April 2019, the party announced that it had gathered more than the 20,109 voter declarations required to appear on the ballot in the 2019 Danish general election. This was formally approved by the Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Interior on 6 May, when they were also given the list letter P. The declarations were not collected according to the rules, circumventing a reflection period of seven days, but the ministry could not sanction the rule-breaking due to a loophole in the regulations.
In early May 2019, polls showed the party with 2.7% and 3.9% support, over the threshold of 2.0% required for a party to win seats in parliament. On May 9, an older YouTube video of Paludan holding a speech about Islam and 9/11 surfacedon on the Internet. Danish media began reporting on the video because a statement by Paludan was interpreted as a call to violence and genocide of Muslims. "The best thing that could happen would be not to have a single Muslim left on our dear Earth" is the rough translation of the quote from the video, filmed during a visit to New Jersey. Danish lawyer Jacob Mchangama was quoted as saying that Paludan's statement was in all likelihood a violation of Danish law.
At the general election on 5 June 2019, the Hard Line won 1.8% of the votes and did not get any seats in the Folketing.
Hard Line was in March 2020 banned from collecting new voter declarations until September 2022, after the independent election board found that Hard Line had misused the voting declaration system. The party had already been temporary suspended in December 2019, following suspicion of fraudulent use. Their current ballot access will expire in October 2020. To circumvent the ruling, Hard Line instead founded a new party, legally named Hard Line (as opposed to Stram Kurs). Paludan called the new party a "sister party", and said the new party would have the same policy and candidates as Stram Kurs, and that the intent was that they should fusion into one party again in the future. The Ministry of the Interior found the creation of the new party legal.
The party's philosophical foundation is "ethno-nationalist utilitarianism", described as maximizing the "greatest happiness for the greatest number of ethnic Danes". This platform is developed in two political pillars. First, an "identitarian" or ethno-nationalist pillar which focuses on protecting and increasing the "ethnic, cultural, religious, linguistic, and normative homogeneity" of Denmark. Second, a right-libertarian pillar which envisions a radical increase in individual freedom and rights, once the ethnic homogeneity of the country has been "restored" through the banning of Islam and massive deportations.
The Hard Line seeks a ban on Islam, a complete stop to immigration from non-Western countries and deportation of all Muslims and most other immigrant groups. Under their proposals, only native-born ethnic Danes and those "adopted as infants" would be allowed in the country, with specific exceptions for visiting tourists, foreign diplomats and qualified foreign spouses "with a background in the Western European culture."
Ethnic and national homogeneity are to be secured through a large-scale deportation program described in party materials:
Denmark must deport every non-Western person who has received asylum and is not a native-born citizen of one Denmark's neighbouring countries. Denmark must deport every non-Western person who isn't a Danish citizen. For non-Westerners with temporary visas, the visa will not be renewed. Non-Westerners with permanent legal status should also have their status revoked and be deported.
Foreigners who have received Danish citizenship by the legal naturalisation process should have their citizenship reevaluated, with the assumption that it will be annulled. Foreigners who have received asylum in Denmark, should of course be deported immediately, given that the foundation for asylum is no longer valid. This applies to their offspring, as well. Thus, deportations to Bosnia and Kosovo obviously must begin immediately.
Every person without legal status in Denmark shall be interned until they can be deported. Individuals who lack legal status while they wait for response to a visa application will be deported while the case is under review. If deportation isn't possible, the applicant should be interned while the application is reviewed.
It is unclear how many members Hard Line has. The party is run by Paludan and has no local or regional chapters and party officials are appointed by him rather than elected by the members as is customary with Danish parties. Their website hosts a single section of the party's by-laws.
Hard Line (legally named Stram Kurs) was in March 2020 barred in 2.5 years from collecting voter declarations, due to fraudulent use of the system. Stram Kurs has instead since June 2020 collected voter declarations under the name "Hard Line", which legally is a distinct party. Paludan has characterised to the new party as a "sister party" of Stram Kurs, and said that it will have the policies and candidates of Stram Kurs. Should the new party manage to get ballot access, they would appear on the ballot as "Hard Line".
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