Denmark’s Prime Minister Matti Frederiksen has lost her majority in an election following a scandal over her decision to reduce the country’s population.
Frederiksen’s Social Democrats are poised to remain the country’s largest party after Tuesday’s election, according to a poll, but its political survival depends on a new centrist coalition.
According to a preliminary survey by public broadcaster Dir, the Social Democrats won 23.1 percent of the vote, giving them 42 of the 179 parliamentary seats. This put them ahead of Jakob Ellemann-Jensen’s Liberal Party with 13.5 percent of the vote or 24 seats.
But the result is also bittersweet for Fredrickson. Winning 42 seats, if confirmed by official polls, is her party’s worst election result in more than 100 years.
In a political landscape divided between 14 parties, both the left-wing “Red Group” won 85 seats and the rival right-wing “Blue Group” fell short of the 90 seats needed for a majority with 73 seats. Parliament with 179 seats. The remaining seats went to non-parties.
The election was triggered by the Mink Cool scandal imposed by the government during the corona virus outbreak. At times, the popular TV political drama “Borgen” followed an unusually exciting and chaotic campaign that seemed to suggest recent upheavals.
If the election results are confirmed, Frederiksen would need the support of former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and the newly formed Moderate Party with 9.3 percent of the vote, or 17 seats.
Rasmussen did not say that he supports both groups, he put the former prime minister in Kingmere’s place in the upcoming negotiations.
During the campaign, he used this position to call for a broad coalition of moderate parties from the red and blue groups; This move could destabilize the country’s post-war political system. Some have suggested that he may use his post-election influence for higher positions and even the position of Prime Minister.
But Rasmussen, who previously served as prime minister for Denmark’s Liberal Party from 2009 to 2011 and from 2015 to 2019, said he has no plans to run for a third term. “That’s not on my mind,” he said after casting his vote Tuesday morning.
Magnus Heinecke, currently the health minister and a member of the Social Democrats, told reporters that voters would punish his party for certain decisions it had to make “when it needs someone to show leadership.”
“I think we did that and we can be proud of it. But it may have taken its toll, because some people may not agree with some of the decisions we made,” he added.
Heunicke reiterated the party’s desire to form a broad, moderate government: “This result reinforces our desire for broad cooperation.” Now let’s sit together and see if we can form a central government.
In the year The Danish People’s Party, which was the country’s second-largest party from 2015 to 2019 and the face of far-right politics, has lost its top spot, according to the exit poll. It is estimated to get just 2.5 percent of the vote, or 4 seats – above the 2 percent threshold for parliament.
A dramatic campaign
The campaign was dominated by domestic issues, from tax cuts and Danish funding to hiring more nurses due to inflation and rising energy prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Once a hot topic, immigration has fallen off the agenda, in part because the Social Democrats have vowed to remain tough on immigration, leaving far-right parties without a rallying point.
Although Frederiksen’s party remains the largest in parliament, it has lost popularity in recent months – down from 48 seats to 42 seats, if the exit poll is confirmed – after a series of scandals rocked its reputation. These include the 2020 order, a policy that destroyed Europe’s biggest fur exporter over fears that the country’s farmland mink could spread the mutated coronavirus.
In June, a commission appointed by parliament said the government had no legal proof of the crime and ordered the sector to be closed, making “very misleading” statements. The Left Party, which backs Frederiksen’s minority government, withdrew its support in the wake of the report, forcing Frederiksen to call Tuesday’s early election.
But her centre-right rival, Conservative leader Søren Pape Paulsen, has lost ground after revelations of lies told by her ex-husband and the Liberals.
Negotiations to form a new government could take weeks, with the right-wing group trying to match or override any proposal made by the red group to Rasmussen’s moderates to regain power.
This article has been updated with additional details on election results and election campaigning.