Social Democrats to form minority government in Denmark

Frederiksen Mette to emerge as the youngest Prime Minister after party softens anti-immigration stance

After her Social Democratic party agreed to soften its anti-immigration stance and form a minority government with the support of three other left-leaning parties, Mette Frederiksen is to become Denmark’s youngest prime minister.

On June 5th Ms. Frederiksen (41) led her party to victory in a general election after adopting a tougher approach on immigration. But under the deal struck late on Tuesday after three weeks of talks with the Socialist People’s party, the Red-Green Unity List and the centrist Social Liberals,  and she has decided to reverse some of the strict immigration curbs adopted by the outgoing center-right government.

Ms. Frederiksen rise to power in Copenhagen is the latest example of resurgence among Europe’s traditional social democratic parties despite their woes in the EU’s largest member states.  Portugal is expected to return a Centre-left government in elections later this year. This follows the victory of the Centre-left in national elections in Spain, Finland and Sweden and a better-than-expected showing for the Dutch Labor party and Italy’s Democratic Party in the European Parliament elections last month.

Ms. Frederiksen to succeed Lars Loekke Rasmussen as Prime Minister, after her Social Democrats party won 48 of the 179 seats in Denmark’s parliament, the Folketing, but was part of a Centre-left bloc that secured a combined 91 seats against 75 for the Centre-right.

A more liberal stance on immigration in favor of more hardline rhetoric and policies was abandoned by the Social Democrats party.

The Centre-left lost some ground in the election, though it appeared to pay off. The fiercely anti-immigration Danish People’s party, which had supported Mr. Rasmussen’s administration, lost more than half of its vote.

The Social Democrats appear to have watered down their anti-immigration stance, In order to secure parliamentary support for a minority government from other left-leaning parties. Mr. Rasmussen’s plan to detain foreign criminals on an island once used as a testing Centre for contagious animal diseases was abandoned.  They will also rejoin a scheme to take in refugees under a UN quota.

The major concern for the new government is spending more to decrease child poverty and speeding up the reduction in carbon emissions.

Ms. Frederiksen said she was open to working with other parties on other issues, including the economy as the agreement is not comprehensive.

Prof Karina Kosiara-Pedersen, of the University of Copenhagen, said: “Nobody is bound by this agreement but this is what the parties have in common”.

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