It’s a little bit like the Falkland Islands getting to decide who leads the government in the U.K. Danes may have to spend the final hours of June 18 — election night — watching their former colonies Greenland and the Faroe Islands decide their fate. After almost two weeks of campaigning, polls show it’s now too close to predict a winner in Denmark’s election. That means four parliamentary seats reserved for the two Atlantic islands that form part of the Kingdom of Denmark may determine who becomes the country’s next prime minister. “The likelihood that North Atlantic votes will be decisive is rising,” said Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, a professor of political science at the University of Copenhagen. Should voting among Danes prove inconclusive, it “would be an unfortunate development for democracy,” he said.
The Danish parliament has 179 seats. A Megafon poll published by Politiken last week gave 86 seats to Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s Social Democrat-led bloc and 89 to her opponent, Lars Loekke Rasmussen. A Gallup poll published on Sunday by Berlingske showed the exact opposite outcome. The numbers mark a stunning turnaround for a government that had lagged behind the opposition since taking office in 2011, with the gap as wide as 18 points at one point in 2013.
The Faroe Islands and Greenland became eligible to participate in Danish elections after a 1953 rewriting of the nation’s constitution. Both territories have since obtained wide-reaching home rule, though Denmark still oversees foreign policy and defense.
At the 2011 election, Thorning-Schmidt got three parliamentary seats from her Atlantic allies. On both islands voter turnout was lower than 60 percent, compared with about 87 percent on mainland Denmark.