The degree of transparency and accountability is reflected in the public’s high level of satisfaction with the political institutions, while Denmark is also regularly considered one of the least corrupt countries in the world by international organizations.
On many issues the political parties tend to opt in for a co-operation, and the Danish state welfare model receives a broad parliamentary support. This ensures a focus on public-sector efficiency as well as devolved responsibilities of local government on regional and municipal levels.
Accordant to the Danish Constitution the Danish Monarch, as head of state, is the theoretical source of all executive, judicial and legislative power. However, since the introduction of parliamentary sovereignty in 1901 a de facto separation of powers has been in effect.
The Monarch retains the ability to deny giving a bill royal assent as well as choosing and dismissing the Prime Minister, although in modern times this becomes increasingly more unlikely, as it would cause a constitutional crisis. King Christian X was the last Monarch to exercise the power of dismissal on his own will, which he did so on March 28, 1920 sparking the 1920 Easter Crisis. All royal powers called Royal Prerogative, such as patronage to appoint ministers and the ability to declare war and make peace, are exercised by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, with the formal consent of the Queen.
Today the Sovereign has an essentially ceremonial role restricted in exercise of power by convention and public opinion. However the monarch does continue to exercise three essential rights: the right to be consulted, the right to advise and the right to warn. As a consequence of these ideals, the Prime Minister and Cabinet attends the regular meeting of the Council of State.
However, the real powers of position of the monarch in the Danish constitution should not be downplayed. The Monarch does indeed retain some power, but it has to be used with discretion. She fulfils the necessary constitutional role as head of state, and acts as a final check on executive power. If a time came to pass, for instance, when a law threatened the freedom or security of her subjects, the queen could decline Royal Assent, free as she is from the eddies of party politics and prosecution.
The Government performs the executive functions of the Kingdom. In appointing the Prime Minister, the Monarch consults the will of the people, represented by parliamentary leaders, in determining who should hold the office. As always, the person who has the broadest support from the members of parliament is chosen by the Monarch and confirmed by a vote of confidence by the Folketing. However, before the parliamentary confirmation, the Prime Minister-elect together with the leaders of his coalition partners selects the other Ministers which make up the Governments and acts as political heads of the various government departments. Cabinet members are occasionally recruited from outside the Folketing.
As known in other parliamentary systems of government, the executive, i.e. the Government, is answerable to the Folketing. Under the Danish constitution, no government may exist with a majority against it, as opposed to the more common rule of government needing a majority for it. It is because of this rule, Denmark often sees minority governments.
A Ministry is the secretariat to the Minister. Its functions comprises overall planning, development and strategic guidance on the entire area of responsibility of the Minister. The Ministers' decisions are carried out by the permanent and politically neutral civil service within the Ministry. Unlike some democracies, senior civil servants remain in post upon a change of Government. The head of the ministry civil servants is the Permanent Secretary. The majority of civil servants in fact work in executive agencies which are separate operational organizations reporting to the Minister.
Also the Minister has his own private secretariat as well as communications personnel. Unlike normal civil servants, the communication staff is partisan and do not remain in their posts upon changes of Government.
The Folketing performs the legislative functions of the Kingdom. As a parliament, it is at the centre of the political system in Denmark and is the supreme and ultimate legislative body answerable to no one. The Prime Minister and the Government in general draws from it, as well as being answerable to it. The Folketing has since 1953 been unicameral.
All parties receiving more than 2% of the votes are represented in the Folketing. Comparatively, this is quite low; in Sweden the minimum level of support necessary for getting into parliament is 4%. Often, this has led to the representation of many parties in the Folketing, and correspondingly complex/unstable government majorities. However, during the last decade the political system has been one of stable majorities and rather long government tenures.
All parties and lists receiving more than 2% of the total vote are guaranteed parliamentary representation. As a consequence of the system, the number of votes required to be elected to parliament varies across the country; it generally requires more votes to be elected in the capital of Copenhagen than it does being elected in less populous areas. The voting system ensures a multi-party parliament with currently seven parties represented in the Folketing. The Prime Minister's liberal party received 29% of the total vote in the 2005 general elections, making it the largest party with 52 seats. The smallest party in parliament is the Red-Green Alliance which received 3.4% of the total vote, equivalent to 6 seats.
The participation of the electorate in general elections normally lies above 85%.
None of the parties have exactly the same organization. It is however common for a party to have: An annual convention which approves manifestos and elects party chairmen; a board of leaders; an assembly of representatives as well as a number of local branches with their own organization. In most cases the party members in parliament form their own group with autonomy to develop and promote party politics in parliament and between elections.