The Danish People's Party (Danish: Dansk Folkeparti, DF) is a political party in Denmark which is frequently described as right-wing. The party is led by Pia Kjærsgaard. Since 2001 the party has supported a government consisting of the Liberal and Conservative parties. While not being a part of the cabinet, the Danish People's Party maintains a close cooperation with the government parties on most issues. In return for their parliamentary cooperation, the party has required support for their political stances.
The party's expressed goals are to protect the freedom and cultural heritage of the Danish people, including the family, the Monarchy and the Church of Denmark, to enforce a strict rule of law, to work against Denmark becoming a multi-ethnic society by limiting immigration and promoting cultural assimilation of admitted immigrants, to maintain a strong welfare system for those in need, and to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth by strengthening education and encouraging people to work, and to protect the environment and natural resources.
Despite some public and media ridicule, the party's popularity has grown since its inception, taking 25 seats in the 179-member the Folketinget in the 2007 parliamentary election (13.8% of the vote, remaining the third largest party in Denmark.)
The Danish People's Party was founded on 6 October 1995, after Pia Kjærsgaard, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, Poul Nødgaard and Ole Donner broke out from the Progress Party. Its first national convention was held in Vissenbjerg on 1 June 1996, where Pia Kjærsgaard was unanimously elected as the party's chairman. The party was established in protest over the "anarchistic conditions" of the Progress Party, and its "all or nothing" policies. It was initially seen by many as a "clone" of the Progress Party, but this was soon proved false. In a struggle to be respected as a responsible party able to cooperate with others and distance it from the conditions in the Progress Party, the leadership of the party struck down criticism from its members by means of expulsions. The party saw a highly centralized party leadership as necessary, as it would not tolerate internal conflicts and disagreements with the official strategy.
The formation of the party represented a shift in the Nordic right-wing scene. The party was the first successful parliamentary party in the Nordic countries to relate philosophically more closely to the French Nouvelle Droite, than to the previous "milder" Nordic form of right-wing populism. More specifically, the Danish People's Party represented a synthesis of three political currents: the Christian right related to the periodical Tidehverv, an intellectual Nationalist right from the Danish Association (Den Danske Forening) and conservative populists from the Progress Party.
In 1997, the party won about 7% in the municipal elections, and did very well in traditional left-wing municipalities, potentially rivaling the Social Democrats. By 1998, the party had 2,500 registered members. The party made its electoral debut in the 1998 Danish parliamentary election, winning 13 seats and 7.4% of the vote.
In the 2001 election, the party won 12% of the vote and 22 seats in parliament. It became the third largest party in the parliament and came in a key position, as they would have a parliamentary majority together with the Conservative People's Party and Venstre. The Danish People's party was favoured by these parties, as it had supported the Venstre candidate for Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, during the election campaign. Eventually, it gave its parliamentary support for a Conservative-Liberal coalition government, headed by Prime Minister Rasmussen, in exchange for the implementation of some of their key demands, first and foremost stricter policies on immigration. The party had a key role in writing the rules and conditions for immigration in the immigration law that was established by the government in May 2002, which it called "Europe's strictest".
For the 2005 election the party further increased their vote, and won 13.2% of the vote and 24 seats. By young first-time voters the party showed even more popular, receiving one fifth of their votes. The party was able to continue to support the government, and developed a political width, as it made welfare policies its core issue, together with immigration policies.
In the 2007 parliamentary election, the Danish People's Party won 13.9 % and 25 seats, and could again continue to support the Conservative-Liberal government. Thus, in every election since its founding the party has had a steady growth, although the growth rate has stagnated somewhat in recent years. Parties in the political centre, particularly the newly founded New Alliance had sought to become the kingmaker and be able to isolate the immigration policies of the DPP, but eventually failed.
In the 2009 elections for the European Parliament the prime candidate for the party, Morten Messerschmidt, won his seat in a landslide with 284,500 personal votes (most votes for any single candidate by any party); thus giving the party a second seat (which went to Anna Rosbach Andersen). The party made a breakthrough from its previous results in Euopean elections, more than doubling its vote to 15.3%, and receiving 2 MEPs.
The party holds that Denmark is not naturally a country of immigration, and that it has never been so. The party also does not accept a multi-ethnic transformation of Denmark, and rejects multiculturalism. Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard has stated she does "not want Denmark as a multiethnic, multicultural society", and that a multiethnic Denmark would be a "national disaster". The party seek to drastically reduce non-Western immigration, oppose islamisation, and favour cultural assimilation of immigrants. In 2010, the party proposed to put a complete stop to all immigration from non-Western countries, a continuation of a proposal the month before to toughen the 24 year rule.
Cooperation with the Conservative-Liberal coalition government resulted in the implementation of some of their key demands, most importantly strong restrictions in immigration policies, which have resulted in what it described as Europe's strictest immigration laws. The new government enacted rules that prevented Danish citizens and others from bringing a foreign spouse into the country unless both partners were aged 24 or over, passed a solvency test showing the Dane had not claimed social security for 12 months and could lodge a bond of 60,011 kroner (about 10,100 USD). One declared aim of this was to fight arranged marriages. These new rules had the effect that while about 8,151 family reunification permits were granted in 2002, the number had fallen to 3,525 by 2005. Some social benefits for refugees were also cut by 30-40% during their first seven years in the country, ordinary unemployment benefits being replaced by a reduced "start-up aid". Whereas the government coalition's declared aim with this was to improve integration by inciting people to work, immigration spokesman Søren Krarup of the Danish People's Party has expressed his content in that the start-up aid has decreased the number of economic refugees greatly, showing them that "one does not find gold in the streets in Denmark".
The party wants to improve conditions for the elderly and disabled, and stricter punishments for crimes such as rape, violence, sexual abuse, reckless driving and cruelty to animals. It supports grants for specific research into terrorism, Islamism and cold-war history, and an increased defense spending. It also wants to maintain the Danish monarchy and the current Danish constitution, and to abolish the blasphemy clause and 'hate speech' clause in the Danish criminal code.
The party opposes a cession of Denmark's sovereignty to the EU, wants to maintain the Danish krone, and opposes the accession of Turkey to the European Union. The party supports Israel in its conflict with Hamas and the US-led War on Terrorism. The party seeks international recognition of Taiwan, supports Taiwan in its disputes with China and supports a free Tibet. The party also supports harsher criticism of, and sanctions against, totalitarian regimes and dictatorships (especially communist and faux-Islamic regimes). In 2007, the party opposed the Danish government's plan to recognise the independence of Kosovo, and maintained the territorial integrity of Serbia.