When the polling stations close, the votes are counted and the 175 seats can be distributed.
The Danish electoral system
Seats in the Danish Parliament are distributed in accordance with a method known as proportional representation. This is a fairly complicated, but mathematically fair, method of distributing votes.
The system guarantees that political parties gain seats in the Danish Parliament in proportion to the number of votes cast for them throughout the country. For example, if a party wins 10 per cent of the votes, it must also have 10 per cent of the seats in the Parliament.
Distributing seats in the Danish Parliament
Denmark is divided into ten large multimember constituencies, which are again divided into smaller nomination districts. Each multimember constituency is allotted a number of constituency seats.
The constituency seats are distributed between the parties in proportion to the number of votes they have won in the individual constituencies. The distribution of the constituency seats ensures that all parts of the country are represented in the Parliament, and not just the big cities where the majority of voters live.
When the constituency seats have been distributed, the compensatory seats are distributed in a way that ensures that each party receives a number of seats corresponding to the number of votes won at national level.
Parties that win very few votes will not be represented in the Parliament. There is a lower limit, an election threshold, of 2 per cent to the number of votes a party must win to be elected to the Parliament. If a party wins less than 2 per cent, as a rule all of the votes cast for that party will be lost. However, if the party has won a constituency seat, the party will enter the Parliament nonetheless. This is extremely rare in practice, however, because if a party wins a constituency seat, it will normally have won more than 2 per cent of the national votes.
Election thresholds in other countries
There is no mention in the Constitutional Act of Denmark of an election threshold, but a court ruling has established that this principle is not in conflict with the Constitutional Act. The 2 per cent minimum is relatively low compared with the norm in many other countries. For instance, in Germany the election threshold is 5 per cent, in Sweden and Norway it is 4 per cent, and in Turkey it is 10 per cent. The Netherlands and Finland have no election thresholds.