Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Politics of Denmark
- Cabinet of Denmark
- Elections in Denmark
- List of Prime Ministers of Denmark
- Løgting - Faroe Islands
- Landsting - Greenland
- Folketinget – Official site
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