The Man Who Ran For Office For Laughs and Won

Pictured above is Danish comedian Jacob Haugaard, who ran for the Danish parliament beginning in 1979. His party — The Union of Conscientiously Work-Shy Elements — had a platform like any other, but it wasn’t focused on things like health care, taxes, or national defense. Instead, it was odd. Haugaard promised to fight for better weather, more whales in local fjords, bread for ducks in Danish parks, tailwinds for anyone on a bicycle, improved Christmas gifts, Nutella in military field rations, and changes to IKEA’s furniture offerings. No one took him seriously nor should they have. The 1979 elections came and went without Haugaard making much of an impression. He picked up a couple of hundred votes, but that was it. In fact, official tallies didn’t even bother mentioning his name. Haugaard believed the joke must continue, so he ran again in 1981 and lost. He ran again in 1987 and lost again. Haugaard ran in every parliamentary election from 1979 to 1994, losing every single time……..except the last one. In 1994, Haugaard received 23,253 votes, enough to earn him a seat in parliament. He decided to serve out his term, taking the role seriously. During his first time at the podium, he offered an explanation for why he was elected: "If people do something seemingly stupid, it’s usually because they see those in positions of authority doing stupid things." Surprisingly, Haugaard’s 4 years in office weren’t a total disaster — he managed to deliver on 3 of his campaign promises. He convinced his fellow lawmakers to provide bread for the ducks in area parks, Nutella was tested in military rations, and public restrooms were installed in the park in the town of Aarhus. Despite these successes, the fact remained that Haugaard never intended to win, and the brief taste of power didn’t change that. Haugaard decided against running for re-election in 1998 and hasn’t sought office since.