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Democratic Denmark

Form of government: Denmark is a representative democracy. It means that the most important decisions are made by the politicians in Folketing, in regionsråd and by kommunalbestyrelse which are elected by the people

The executive, judicial and legislative powers:
It is the government and Folketing which legislate. The government and the social administrations put the laws into effect. The courts: city courts, district courts and the Supreme Court - pass sentences in criminal cases and judge civil lawsuits between citizens, between citizens and private companies and between citizens and authorities. This division of power is supposed to prevent the abuse of power and secure stability of democracy.

The constitution of Denmark:
The Danish democracy was introduced in 1849. It replaced the absolute monarchy that secured the king a very powerful position since 1660. The basis for that was the Danish constitution act from 1849, which was the first democratic constitution in Denmark. The old principles are still to be found in the “Danish Constitution act amendment from 1953” today despite the many changes it has been through.

The constitutionally guaranteed rights:
The democratic lawgiving contains the basic rules for the government of the state and secures the citizens numerous basic rights and freedoms. They mean a lot to the Danes and their everyday life. When the Danes talk about their constitutional rights, they mean for instance freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of religion and the right to own property.

The royal house:
The Danish monarchy is the second oldest in the world. There have been kings and queens, princes and princesses for over 1000 years. The first known king is Gorm the Old who reigned in the 10th century. Between 1660 and 1849 the country was ruled over by sovereign monarchs.

Constitutional monarchy:
Today there is constitutional monarchy in Denmark that function within the democratic framework. It means that the King and the government together possess legislative power. The laws are carried by the Folketing, but need to be countersigned by the monarch. The royal family has no political power today, but attends to some representative duties both in Denmark and abroad. The constitution change in 1953 meant that from that time onward a female also could become regent and rule the country.

The Folketing:
The national parliament, Folketing, consists of 179 members from numerous political parties. The members are elected for 4 years at the time. The prime minister is empowered to dissolve the Folketing and levy a new election before the 4 years have passed. Two of the members in the Folketing are elected in Greenland and the Faeroe islands.

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