The opening of the Danish Parliament

The first Tuesday of October is a special day in Danish politics. It is the day the Danish Parliament opens and a new sessional year begins.

The new sessional year of the Danish Parliament begins on Tuesday 2 October 2018. The event begins at 10.00 with a divine service for Members at the Christiansborg Palace Chapel. 

Queen Margrethe II and other members of the royal family will arrive at Christiansborg at 11.40 and will be welcomed by the Speaker of the Danish Parliament, Pia Kjærsgaard (DF), at the grand stairs in the Rigsdag Courtyard.

Bertel Haarder is the veteran Member 

The first sitting of the Danish Parliament begins at precisely 12.00 and is chaired by the longest-serving Member. This is Bertel Haarder (V), who has been a Member of Parliament for more than 38 years.

Bertel Haarder

Election of the chairperson and Presidium

The first item on the agenda is the election of a chairperson. This is usually a tranquil event with a unanimous Parliament nominating the same person. Parliament also elects four Deputy Speakers from among the parties with most seats. Together, the Speaker and the four Deputy Speakers constitute the Presidium of the Danish Parliament.

Opening address: the Government’s opinion of the state of affairs in Denmark 

When the Chairperson has been elected, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen Helle (V) will take the floor and hold his opening address in which, as the head of the Government, he gives an account of the state of affairs in the Realm and the world outside. The address also includes a review of the Bills that the Government will be introducing during the new session. 

The legal basis for the opening speech is contained in Section 38 (1) of the Danish Constitutional Act, which states that the Prime Minister must provide an account of the general status of the Realm and of the measures the Government intends to take. This oral account is what is popularly known as the Prime Minister’s opening address. 

Introducing the newly renovated Chamber

This year, the opening is extra special since it will also be the official introduction to the newly renovated Chamber. The Chamber has been under renovation since the summer of 2017 and is now equipped to members with disabilities.

Debate on the opening address on 4 October

There is no debate of the Prime Minister’s opening address on the opening day. This debate takes place on Thursday 4 October at 10.00.

Pia Kjærsgaard and Lars Løkke

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