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they had been the cause, in November, 1900, of eight prominent Members of the Right in the Landsthing taking up an independent position (see ANNUAL REGISTER for 1900, p. 356), which step cost the Government their hitherto unassailable majority in the Upper House, which they had always placed against the ever-increasing opposition of the Folkething. The new State Loan Bill fared no better than the Taxation Bills ; it was referred to the Financial Committee of the Lower House, which, however, did not report upon it, so it was left in abey
The legislative result of the session was below the average, only twenty-seven bills out of 103 having been passed by the Rigsdag. Of the more important measures amongst these twenty-seven may be mentioned the one introducing secret voting at the elections to the Rigsdag, and the new Factory Bill.
The session closed March 30, M. Högsbro, the President of the Lower House for fourteen years, announcing his intention of resigning his post on account of old age.
The general election to the Folkething took place on April 3, having been preceded by a heated electioneering campaign, extending over some three or four weeks. The Conservatives were not in an enviable position, being divided amongst themselves and not too well pleased with their own Ministry. The Ministry did not appear to have any clearly defined policy and had shown no inclination to make a plain and binding declaration. The King's constitutional right to choose his Ministers according to his own liking was one of the principles most frequently paraded, but there was a lack of warmth and conviction on the part of the supporters of the Government. The Left Reform party had a much broader and more satisfactory basis for their agitation. What they in the first instance demanded was confidence between the Government and the Rigsdag, in lieu of the more or less covert hostility which had for years existed between the Conservative Government and the Liberal Folkething. This state of renewed confidence established, there were innumerable important reforms waiting to be dealt with, many of which had been under discussion for years. What the Reform party fought for was the resignation of the Conservative Government and, at the King's will, the appointment of a Liberal Ministry. The Moderate Left, in a manifesto signed by nineteen members of the Lower and five of the Upper House, drew attention to the unsatisfactory result of the labours of the Rigsdag since the previous election, and stated that their party's endeavours to bring about a more useful cooperation between the two Chambers had so far been unsuccessful. They were, however, determined to continue their efforts and were hopeful of ultimate good results.
As most people expected, the result of the elections was a new victory for the Opposition, a further reduction in the number of the supporters of the Government. The Left Reform
[329 party returned 10 additional Members, having won 5 seats from the Conservatives and 5 from the Moderate Left, the total of the Reform party thus having been increased to 77 Members. Next came the Moderate Left with 15 Members —a strength reduced, as already stated, by 5—and the Social Democrats with 14 Members—a gain of 2. At the bottom of the list stood the supporters of the Government with the modest figure of 8 Members, having lost 8 and gained 1 seat. In Copenhagen the Opposition held all their old divisions and conquered 2 new seats, in addition to a suburban division, and the Conservatives only retained i division.
The result of the election could not but make the position of the Sehested Ministry still more difficult, and the question of what would now have to be done was freely discussed in the Press. A Left Ministry was even by many Conservatives looked upon as the only way out of the dilemma, but a doubt existed whether the aged King, who had all his time been surrounded with Conservative advisers, could reconcile himself to such a complete change. Under these circumstances various coalitions and compromises were brought under discussion. The Conservatives held a meeting of delegates in May, and officially there was no admission of the general election having to any marked extent altered the aspect of affairs. M. Sehested and his colleagues remained in office for another three months, but on the King's return from Wiesbaden they sent in their resignation (July 16), which it pleased his Majesty to accept. In the course of a week (July 23) Professor Deuntzer had formed his Ministry—a pure Left Reform party Ministry-and the King at once gave the list his sanction. The new Ministers were : Professor Doctor-at-Law J. H. Deuntzer, Premier and Foreign Minister; Rear-Admiral F. H. Jöhncke, Naval Minister; Colonel V. H. O. Madsen, War Minister; M. C. Hage, Minister of Finance; Solicitor of the Highest Court P. A. Alberti, Home Secretary; M. J. C. Christensen, Church Minister; M. O. Hansen, Minister for Agriculture ; M. V. L. B. Hörup, Minister for Traffic; and M. E. Sörensen, Minister of the Interior.
The formation of the new Ministry was hailed with the utmost satisfaction by all the influential Liberal papers, and Professor Deuntzer was much complimented upon the manner in which he had solved a difficult problem. The various shades within the party were well represented and balanced in the new Cabinet, M. Alberti standing for the more agrarian faction, and M. Hörup for the Radicals. These two gentlemen, the one the owner the other the editor of influential papers,
had hitherto been bitterly opposed to each other in their respective journals, and M. Alberti had ousted M. Hörup from his seat in the Lower House; but old differences were soon forgotten, the Ministry correspondingly gaining in strength. The widespread satisfaction with which the " new system
was received gave itself striking expression in a great national fête held in Copen
hagen on September 1, the most significant feature of which was a procession to the King at Amalienborg. This procession comprised representatives from all parts of the country, and King Christian could not have wished for a more unmistakable demonstration of loyal gratitude for his Majesty's having accepted a Left Ministry. A deputation waited upon the King, who was surrounded by the Queen of England, the King of Greece, the Dowager-Empress of Russia, and the other members of the Royal Family. In reply to an address from the deputation the King said that also to him July 23 was a day of mark. He had the fullest confidence in his new Ministry, who might reckon upon his support, and he concluded his reply by expressing the hope that the change which had taken place would bring with it peace and unity and happiness. The King afterwards had to appear several times in response to the prolonged and enthusiastic cheering.
At the banquet on the same evening the Prime Minister delivered a speech, which to some extent might be taken as the programme of the Ministry. He pointed out that the change which had been brought about in the Government was a natural outcome of the evolution which goes on in all countries with a free constitution. It was no longer enough that the nation, through the Legislature, influenced the passing of laws, but the application and carrying out of them must be entrusted to men who enjoy the confidence of the nation. The Ministry, he said, would advance social and political development in the true Liberal spirit, with firmness and without fear. First among the reforms waiting to be taken in hand the Premier placed that of the administering of law, which must be carried on in the spirit and according to the promises of the Constitution. Justice should be administered with full publicity; juries would have to be introduced. There was a proposal drawn up by experts, but on this, as on other questions, while the advice of experts would be listened to, they could not be allowed to dictate. They would have to convince the nation and its chosen men that they were right. This also applied to the subject of Army and Navy reform. Last, but not least, came the great question of taxation reform; he would do his utmost to carry this most important matter through in a satisfactory manner. Most of the reforms referred to would entail increased expenditure; it would therefore be necessary to exercise economy wherever it was possible.
The Rigsdag assembled on October 5, the King opening it in person, which had not been the case for many years. His Majesty said that he confidently looked forward to a fruitful co-operation between the Government and the Rigsdag, and that he hoped this would be the means of preserving the country's independence, in friendly relations with foreign Powers, and, within the country, of serving to advance personal and political freedom, and to elevate the mental and material
1901.) Denmark.—The New Folkething at Work. [331 life of the nation. The King then briefly referred to the various reforms likely to be dealt with. At the subsequent meeting of the Folkething M. Trier was elected President. On October 10 the Folkething passed a reply to the Speech from the Throne, which was carried unanimously.
The Budget was promptly laid before the House, showing receipts amounting to 72,871,597 kr. and an expenditure of 72,388,207 kr. After a somewhat lengthy first reading the Budget was referred to a committee of fifteen members. A bill sanctioning a new foreign State loan of 30,000,000 kr. at 3} per cent. interest, to be issued at 96, was promptly passed in both Houses and equally promptly acted upon. A vote of 5,000,000 kr. for field artillery was also got through without any difficulty.
Altogether the Folkething worked with a will. The Taxation Reform Bills were again introduced in a partly new form, based both upon the proposal of the Taxation Committee of the Lower House and on the proposal of the last Landsthing's Committee. They were again sent to a special committee. The Home Secretary brought in the bill for reforms in the administration of the law, based upon the report of the committee of 1892, but M. Alberti stated that he was ready to have the matter very fully gone into in a special committee. The Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs laid before the House several important measures dealing with the use of churches, the establishment of Congregational Councils, etc. ; these proposals will bring about many changes, and have been widely discussed.
All things considered, what had happened since the Left Ministry came into office, and more especially the proceedings of the Rigsdag, augured well for the political future of Denmark.
Everything comes to him who waits—and in the year 1901 Sweden was rewarded for many years of patient waiting by a complete re-organisation of her military system. This reform was much needed and eagerly looked for by large and influential sections of the nation, the existing arrangements being admittedly out of date and altogether inadequate. The year will, therefore, be known as that of the great military reforms, which subsequent legislation may extend and modify.
The Riksdag met on January 15. On the 17th the Crown Prince formally opened the session with a speech from the throne, in which he announced that the King hoped soon to be able to again take over the Government. The Crown Prince referred to the Nobel Institution and to the military reforms, the additional expenditure of which he hoped would be counterbalanced by the increasing wealth of the country. A bill
dealing with Accident Insurance would again be laid before the House, and the Government continued to have its attention directed to the utilisation of the numerous waterfalls which Sweden possesses, hoping thereby to procure motive power for industrial purposes and increased means of communication.
The Budget was promptly laid before the Riksdag. The revenue was estimated at 160,000,000 kr., of which 28,000,000 kr. was surplus from the previous year, 51,000,000 kr. were estimated Customs receipts, 19,500,000 kr. corn-brandy tax, 9,000,000 kr. beet-sugar tax, 7,000,000 kr. revenue from the State railways, etc. The expenditure was also estimated at 160,000,000 kr., to which, however, should be added 13,000,000 kr. for new railways, which sum was to be defrayed by the National Debt Department; the Military Budget amounted to 47,000,000 kr., which was 10,000,000 kr, more than the previous year; the Naval Budget was estimated at 21,000,000 kr., about the same amount as the previous year. Of other items may be noticed 11,500,000 kr. interest on and reduction of the National Debt, and 14,000,000 kr. to the Workmen's Insurance Fund.
The following day (Jan. 18) the Army Reform Bill, which had been extensively discussed in the Press for some time previously, was laid before the House, and, in due course, referred to a special committee. In that committee the bill was considered at great length, and in order to overcome the opposition, which emanated more especially from the Liberal side, proposals about compensation, in the shape of an extended franchise, were made from different quarters, without, however, being accepted. The committee had its report ready on May 6, and, pointing out the danger which might be incurred by further delay, they recommended the adoption of the Government bill relating to the time of service and the manner in which it should be divided. The pay to the soldiers in the recruit time was to be 20 ore (2zd.) per day, and during the rest of the service 50 ore (63d.), and the new bill would increase the Military Budget so that the ordinary annual expenditure would amount to some 45,000,000 kr. Several members of the committee had made various reservations, the most important of which was one supported by six menbers purporting, and aiming at, the reduction of the aggregate time of service to 240 days (instead of 365 days), of which 150 days came upon the recruit school.
The discussion in the House began on May 13, the Prime Minister speaking in both Chambers. He stated that the Government could not accept a shorter aggregate time of service than a year, nor did they see their way to accepting the introduction of a fresh bill. He admitted that the passing of the Army Reform Bill ought to lead up to reforms in the suffrage, but he would much regret if the former question were left undecided until the suffrage extension reforms had been