Denmark: Presidentialization in a Consensual Democracy
Even though structural causes of presidentialization such as the growth of the state, the development of a modern mass media, the erosion of cleavages, and the Europeanization of politics, all exist in the Danish case, the logic and reality of consensus politics means that domestic politics is still not heavily presidentialized. Presidential trends within parties are limited to a discernible strengthening of party leaders in respect of the resources available to them and their potential to influence the candidate-nomination process. In regard to the electoral process, some presidentialization is seen especially in relation to media coverage. Perceiving the way in which the media seek to personalize their coverage of politics, the parties have sought to accommodate this in their campaign strategies. The presidentialization process seems stronger in the governmental arena with a growing longevity of Prime Ministers in executive office, increasing frequency with which the premiers reshuffle their cabinets, the growing use of cabinet committees as means of executive coordination, the gradual growth of the Prime Minister’s Office, a new system by which media relations are coordinated by the Prime Minister’s staff, and the Prime Minister’s larger role in international affairs due to Europeanization. On the other hand, the Prime Minister does not enjoy any formal rights of patronage and, most significantly, prime ministerial power in Denmark is still kept in check by consensus politics. The tradition of minority and multiparty government makes this a necessity, and consensus culture does not generally call for strong personalized leadership.
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