Denmark’s Social Democratic leader
said on Tuesday she had agreed to form a bipartisan coalition with her continuing as prime minister, the first alliance in decades to bridge the country’s traditional left-right political divide.
Making up the new government with Ms. Frederiksen, who in the previous term headed a one-party government, are two center-right parties: the Liberal Party, the other traditional political heavyweight in Danish politics, and the newly formed Moderates. Tuesday’s pact ended weeks of government negotiations.
During her campaign, Ms. Frederiksen argued that a broad government was needed at a time of international and domestic uncertainty, caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, skyrocketing energy prices and the highest inflation in four decades, which hit 11.4% in October. The election in early November took place a little more than a month after explosions assumed to be sabotage damaged the Nord Stream pipelines off Denmark’s coast.
“There will be many compromises,” Ms. Frederiksen told reporters in Copenhagen Tuesday evening. “This is not what we are used to in Denmark. I have believed for a long time that this is what our country needs. Both due to the crises we face—inflation, war in Europe—but also because we need to make some decisions that require us to look at things differently.”
Industry groups have supported a broad coalition, which they think will be more effective in pushing through economic changes, including on the labor market, where Denmark has faced a shortage of workers for years.
Centrist and left-wing parties that were initially part of the coalition negotiations gradually withdrew, saying Ms. Frederiksen had pivoted to the right on issues such as migration, climate and the economy.
One particular flashpoint centered on the government’s suggested plan to fly asylum seekers to have their claims assessed in Rwanda, a nation with a tainted human-rights record, which the leftist parties had opposed. It is unclear whether the new government, which will outline its political priorities on Wednesday, will push ahead with the Rwanda plans.
Ms. Frederiksen’s announcement also appears to mark the end of a two-year-long controversy over her order to cull millions of mink during the coronavirus pandemic. This was later found to be illegal. Opposition parties, including the Liberals and the Moderates, had demanded an independent attorney’s assessment of whether any minister had incurred criminal liability, and if there was a basis for an impeachment trial. With the two parties in government, they have retracted that demand and the political majority for such an investigation is gone.
Ms. Frederiksen negotiated the new coalition despite having won a narrow majority for the center-left coalition that Social Democratic prime ministers have traditionally led.
The new coalition is the first to bridge the traditional center-left divide that have dominated Danish politics since the national unity government during World War II, with the exception of a one-year coalition between the Social Democrats and the Liberal Party in the late 1970s.
The new coalition also marks a political comeback for former Prime Minister
Lars Løkke Rasmussen,
who resigned as leader of the Liberal Party after losing the 2019 election and formed a new party, the Moderates, gaining 9% of the vote in November.
Write to Sune Engel Rasmussen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Leave a Reply