Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. Legislative power is vested jointly in the crown and a unicameral parliament (Folketing), executive power in the sovereign—who exercises it through his or her ministers—and judicial power in the courts. The revised constitution of 1953 provides that powers constitutionally vested in Danish authorities by legislation may be transferred to international authorities established, by agreement with other states, for the promotion of international law and cooperation.
The sovereign must belong to the Lutheran Church. The crown is hereditary in the royal house of Lyksborg, which ascended the throne in 1863. On the death of a king, the throne descends to his son or daughter, a son taking precedence.
Executive powers belong to the crown, which enjoys personal integrity and is not responsible for acts of government. These powers are exercised by the cabinet, consisting of a prime minister and a variable number of ministers, who generally are members of the political party or coalition commanding a legislative majority. No minister may remain in office after the Folketing has passed a vote of no confidence in him or her.
The single-chamber Folketing, which has been in existence since 1953, is elected every four years (more frequently, if necessary) by direct and secret ballot by Danish subjects 18 years of age and older. Under the 1953 constitution there are 179 members, two of whom are elected in the Faroe Islands and two in Greenland. Of the remaining 175 members, 135 are elected by proportional representation in 17 constituencies, and 40 supplementary seats are divided among the parties in proportion to the total votes cast.
A parliamentary commission, acting as the representative both of the Folketing and of the nation, superintends civil and military government administration.