One of Europe’s most influential anti-immigration parties could lose its leverage in Danish politics in next week’s election. Polls ahead of the vote Thursday show that the Danish People’s Party stands to lose the kingmaker role which for 10 years has given it an important say on government policy, including pushing through sharp restrictions on immigration.
For Phillip Hobbs, a 26-year-old Australian online entrepreneur who was denied a residence permit even though his wife and their 8-month-old son are Danish citizens, the change would be welcome.
Hobbs is an unintended target of a rule that prevents Danish citizens from bringing in a foreign spouse if one of them is younger than 24. Hobbs’ wife is 23. The rule is aimed at reducing forced marriages in immigrant communities for immigration reasons.
“It starts a fire inside me every time I hear someone who says they vote for the Danish People’s Party,” said Hobbs, who moved his family last month to neighboring Sweden, where immigration rules are more relaxed.
The “24-year-rule” is among a raft of measures to clamp down on immigration that Denmark’s government has adopted under the influence of the Danish People’s Party and its leader, 64-year-old Pia Kjaersgaard.
Since the Liberal-Conservative minority government took power in 2001, it depends on Kjaersgaard’s backing to push budget proposals and other bills through parliament.