A new government for Denmark combining center left and center right

Six weeks after the legislative elections, Denmark will present a government made up of Social Democrats and Liberals, a left-right alliance unheard of for more than 40 years, the reappointed head of government, Mette Frederiksen, announced on Tuesday. 

It is an unprecedented alliance. Six weeks after the legislative elections, Denmark has a government bringing together the social democrats and the liberals, a left-right alliance which had not taken place for more than 40 years, announced, Tuesday December 13 , the renewed head of government, Mette Frederiksen.

Victorious in the November 1 election, the Social Democratic leader will present on Wednesday the “outline” of the government agreement between her party, the center-right liberal party and the new centrist party of moderates, before the announcement of her government team on Thursday.

“I have long believed that this is what our country needs. Both because of the crises we face – inflation, war in Europe – but also because we have to make decisions that force us to look at things differently,” she told reporters after informing Queen Margrethe II of the government agreement.

Accustomed to leading minority governments, the Social Democrats, by far the largest party with 50 seats out of the 179 in Parliament, wanted to govern beyond traditional divisions after the November 1 legislative elections. 

And this while the previous “left bloc” had won an absolute majority. 

“A lot of compromises, but above all a lot of ambitions”

They had to convince the Liberal Party, the main formation of the Danish right, while a centrist party, the Moderates, newly created by former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen supported a coalition government.

For this new government, “there are a lot of compromises, but above all a lot of ambitions,” said Mette Frederiksen, who is due to present the government platform on Wednesday with the leaders of the two other parties.

The new government will be supported by 89 deputies, one less than the absolute majority. But he should also be able to count on the support of elected MPs from Greenland and the Faroe Islands to have enough support.

 “It’s extremely surprising – no one thought it would be possible to form this government,” political scientist Robert Klemmensen, professor of political science at Lund University, told AFP.

“We are in totally new and uncharted territory,” he continued. The last coalition government between the Social Democrats and the Liberals lasted nine months between 1978 and 1979.

Winning return of the former Prime Minister

Reaching out to the right, Mette Frederiksen has lost her traditional allies on the left and is starting her new term without a safety net, he explained.

“Mette Frederiksen is making a violent turn to the right today,” left-wing party leader Mai Villadsen said on Twitter.

According to the political scientist, former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, joker in the ballot with 9% of the vote, is the big winner of the new government.

According to press reports, the new executive is expected to announce tax cuts, a major reorganization of the Danish public sector, including hospitals, and possibly changes in immigration policy. 

“The government will therefore most likely pursue policies that are well aligned with the program that Lars Lokke has presented,” said political scientist Robert Klemmensen.

“I can’t wait to share everything we’ve worked on together. Everything we’ve now agreed to collaborate on,” the former Prime Minister (2009-2011 and 2015-2019) wrote on Facebook.

The goal of zero immigration

The extreme right, long very influential in Danish politics, has had little influence on government negotiations. 

Divided into three parties and accumulating 14.4% of the vote, it is all the more weakened as its favorite themes – in particular zero immigration – have been taken up by social democracy.

Mette Frederiksen’s objective is not to welcome any refugees to Denmark. His previous government also worked on the establishment in Rwanda of a delocalized management center for asylum seekers.