Liberal Alliance (Denmark)
|Founded||7 May 2007|
|Headquarters||Nybrogade 10, 3.sal
DK-1203 København K
|Youth wing||Liberal Alliance Youth|
|Colours||Light blue and orange|
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36 / 2,444
Following the 2015 general election, the party has 13 seats in the Folketing. The party is a component of the centre-right bloc in Danish politics. Since November 2016, it has been part of a three-party coalition government with the Liberal Party (Venstre) and Conservative People's Party.
The party was founded on 7 May 2007 as the New Alliance (Danish: Ny Alliance) by Naser Khader MP, Anders Samuelsen MEP from the Social Liberal Party and Gitte Seeberg, a Conservative People's Party MEP. The party supported the government of the Liberal Party and Conservative People's Party.
To comply with Danish election law, and to be able to stand for elections the Liberal Alliance had to gather 19,185 signatures of supporters on special forms, the number being equivalent to one parliamentary seat in the Folketing. Each completed form had to be certified with the civil registry offices of municipalities before being collectively handed in to the Ministry of the Interior. In the event of an election being called before the Liberal Alliance had finished its nomination process, the minor party Centre Democrats offered to let the Liberal Alliance put forward candidates on their lists. The Liberal Alliance did not take any stand on this offer, however.
On one occasion, on 12 May in Horsens, the three leading figures of the party managed to collect over 2,000 signatures in one day. On 21 May the party reported they were half-way, having gathered in 10,000 signatures.
The party finally completed its nomination process on 29 June by being accepted on the Ministry of the Interior's list of parties able to stand for elections to the Folketing after handing in the 21,516 required signatures. Immediately after its creation, Liberal Alliance had a surge of members. 24 hours after the announcement of the party, more than 12,000 had registered on the party website. Three days later 16,000 had registered and 8,000 of these had paid the membership fee.
On 30 August 2007, the party presented a policy programme. Some of the points in this programme included: Longer mandatory school attendance, with free food and homework aid; a European Marshall Plan to the Middle East; increasing foreign aid to 1% of GDP; increased focus on prevention in public health, with lower prices on healthy foods; and an exhaustive reform related to immigration and asylum politics.
On 29 January 2008, founding member Gitte Seeberg left the party in protest against the party's status as a right-wing party, which conflicted with her own desire to form a centrist party while rejecting the influence of the Danish People's Party. A week later, on 5 February 2008, another of the party's members of parliament, Malou Aamund, left the party and joined the governing Liberal Party. On 24 June 2008 Jørgen Poulsen was excluded from the Liberal Alliance's parliamentary group, though not from the party itself.
Under the new leadership of Anders Samuelsen, the party position moved towards the right, espousing economic liberalism and libertarian policies, with the party changing its name to the Liberal Alliance on 27 August 2008.
On 1 September 2008, the party regained a third mandate in the parliament, as Gitte Seeberg was appointed secretary general of the Danish branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Her mandate was given to former deputy mayor of Slagelse, Villum Christensen. On 5 January 2009, founding member and party leader Naser Khader left the party, citing that he did not believe in it any longer. At the time, Anders Samuelsen was scheduled to take over leadership of the party later that month. The same day, Villum Christensen expressed doubt on his future in the party.
In the 2009 European election, the party won 0.59% of the vote, leaving the party without representation in the European parliament.
At the 2011 general election on 15 September 2011, the party won 5.0% of the vote, and 9 seats.
In the 2015 general election held on 18 June 2015, the party won 7.5% of the vote, and 13 seats in the Folketing. In its most successful constituency, Gentofte Municipality, a well-off suburb of Copenhague, it even scored 17.5 %, while on Bornholm its share of votes was only 4 %. Initially, the party did not participate in Lars Løkke Rasmussen's Venstre minority cabinet but lent its parliamentary support to the government. In late-November 2016 however, it joined a three-party centre-right coalition government alongside Venstre and the Conservative People's Party, Løkke Rasmussen's third cabinet. Party leader Anders Samuelsen was appointed foreign minister, while Simon Emil Ammitzbøll took the post of minister for the economy and interior. Additional cabinet members of Liberal Alliance are Merete Riisager (education), Mette Bock (culture), Ole Birk Olesen (transport) and Thyra Frank (elder affairs).
The original New Alliance considered itself a centrist party, "taking the best values of social liberalism and social conservatism". By using these two terms, New Alliance positioned itself equidistant between the former parties of the three founding members. Social liberalism is, of course, the official ideology of the Social Liberal Party, whereas "social conservatism" is a term sometimes invoked by members of the Conservative People's Party who stress the support of the welfare society, such as Liberal Alliance co-founder Gitte Seeberg.
After Gitte Seeberg left the party, the "social conservatism" part was dropped, and the party name was changed to Liberal Alliance. However, there were still considerable ideological differences among the two remaining founders, and it was not until Naser Khader was replaced by Anders Samuelsen that the party took on a more classical liberal identity.
The party has proposed extensive economic liberal reforms, including a tax reform replacing progressive income tax with a flat-rate income tax of 40%, halving rates of corporation tax, instigating user charges for public healthcare, abolishing early retirement schemes and reassessing everyone receiving disability benefits.
The Liberal Alliance has supported the rights of same-sex couples to marry and adopt, helping to pass both into law. The party opposed the reintroduction of border controls in 2011, and supported the dismantling of them later in that year. It supports ending the ban on foreigners owning holiday homes in Denmark.
On August 30, 2011, and with 5.0% voter support, Simon Emil Ammitzbøll told on air to Danish Radio, that a vote for the Liberal Alliance is a vote for free hashish. Voter support increased to 7.5% following the statement.
In parliament, the party supported the reduction of vehicle registration fees, and also to place Simon Emil Ammitzbøll as new Finance and Interior minister in a new ministry and Anders Samuelsen as new Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (V) in a new threesome government starting November 28, 2016.
The party received donations from the investment bank Saxo Bank (500,000 Danish kroner) and the businessman Lars Kolind (100,000 kroner). As of 22 May 2007, the party had seven paid employees and a number of volunteers. The party announced it would not hire additional employees until it had more funds.
Liberal Alliance Youth
On 23 February 2008, a youth wing to the party was formed by 21 people under the name of Young Alliance (Danish: Ung Alliance). When the party changed its name to the Liberal Alliance, the youth branch followed suit changing its name to the Liberal Alliance Youth.
European parliament affiliations
At its formation, two MEPs joined the party. With the defection of MEPs Gitte Seeberg and Anders Samuelsen, the Conservatives and the Social Liberal Party were effectively left without representation in the European Parliament. The two MEPs did, however, stay in their parliamentary groups (EPP-ED and ALDE respectively). Both resigned from the European Parliament after being elected to the Danish Parliament in November 2007. The Liberal Alliance announced that it would join the ALDE group after future European elections. However, the party failed to achieve representation in the European Parliament in both the 2009 and 2014 European Parliament elections.
The party has had two leaders since its foundation:
List of government participation
- 2016– with Venstre and the Conservative People's Party
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Since its formation, the party has had nineteen MPs. Its thirteen current MPs are given in bold.
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