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Folketing

From Academic Kids

The Folketing, or Folketinget, is the name of the national parliament of Denmark. It literally means the People's Ting - that is, the people's governing assembly.


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Christiansborg Castle

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Christiansborg Castle

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Christiansborg Castle

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Christiansborg Castle

History

From 1849 to 1953 the Folketing was one of the houses in the bicameral parliament known as the Rigsdag; the other house was known as the "Landsting". Since both houses had equal power, the terms "upper house" and "lower house" should not be used. The difference between the houses was voter representation. While the Folketing represented independent farmers, traders and merchants as well as the educated classes (i.e. the liberal forces of society), the Landsting predominantly represented the old aristocracy and other conservatives.

Facing the rising tide of socialism in the 1920s, conservatives (who had formed the Conservative Party) and liberals (who had formed the Liberal Party or Venstre) began to cooperate in the Landsting.

In 1953 the people by popular vote adopted a new constitution. Among the changes was the elimination of the Landsting and the introduction of a unicameral parliament, known only as the Folketing. Christiansborg Castle has been the domicile of parliament since 1849. The palace is located in the heart of Copenhagen.

Constitutional Requirements

  • The Folketing may consist of no more than 179 members (known as mandates) elected for 4 years or until the Prime Minister (via the Queen-in-council) calls for elections. Greenland and the Faroe Islands elect 2 members each.
  • Members are elected in accordance with the principle of proportional majority.
  • Details of the election provedure are given by law: Currently 135 of Folketing members are elected by proportional representation in 17 districts, and 40 others are allotted in proportion to their total vote.
  • Denmark has universal suffrage for all citizens over 18 years who lives in the realm and who has not been declared incapable of managing his own affairs. The constitution makes it possible to restrict suffrage for convicted criminals and people receiving social benefits, but this option has not been used for several decades and it is very unlikely that it will be used today.
  • All voters who have not been convicted of criminal acts, making them unworthy for a seat in the parliament is elegible. The Folketing decides if a member is elegible or not.
  • MPs are almost allways elected as members of a political party but independents can be elected too. The only independent who has been elected in modern times is the comedian Jacob Haugaard.
  • Without the consent of the majority of members, no criminal charges may be brought against an MP, unless he is caught in the very act. Should an MP be convicted in a court of law, the sentence may not be executed without the consent of parliament.
  • Debates can be conducted behind closed doors. However, this is used very seldom (less then once in a decade).
  • Ministers may hold a seat in parliament; but they don't need to. Supreme Court judges - according to convention - may not hold a seat whilst also acting as judges.
  • Ministers may - even if they are not MPs - demand talking time whenever they want.
  • Bills may be brought before parliament by members (private bills) and ministers (via the Queen-in-council). Bills are predominantly brought before parliament by ministers, since they have the Law Office of the Ministry of Justice at their disposal. Instead of putting forward a private bill, the opposition usually put forward a proposal for a parliamentary decision, asking the relevant minister to propose a bill concerning the subjects laid down in the decision.

See also

External links

de:Folketing es:Folketing fr:Folketing no:Folketinget pl:Folketinget sv:Folketinget

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