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  • Mette Frederiksen of The Danish Social Democrats addresses the press after finalizing the government negotiations at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Mette Frederiksen of The Danish Social Democrats addresses the press after finalizing the government negotiations at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 June 2019
Opinion

Denmark’s Social Democratic leader Mette Frederiksen together with three leftist parties formed a leftist government in the third Nordic country this year.

Denmark will become the third Nordic country this year to form a leftist government after Social Democratic leader Mette Frederiksen agreed to terms for a one-party minority government late Wednesday.

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“It is with great pleasure I can announce we have a majority to form a new government,” said Frederiksen. “Now we have reached the goal ... we have shown that when Danes vote as they have done, a new majority can turn their hopes into actions.”

The Social Democratic party won Denmark’s general election on June 5 prompting center-right leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen to resign as prime minister. Social Democratic parties also came to power earlier this year in Finland and Sweden.

Frederiksen, who at 41 becomes Denmark's youngest prime minister, has promised to increase welfare spending after years of austerity. She also promised greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent before 2030. 

Frederiksen, together with three leftist parties, presented an 18-page paper titled 'Fair direction for Denmark' that outlines the new government's ambitions.

"We still lack the whole financing part of this draft. It is a lot of good intentions but not much on how it concretely will be realized," Nordea economist Jan Storup told Reuters.

Despite differences among left-leaning parties over issues such as welfare and immigration, Frederiksen got their backing to form a one-party minority government, a common arrangement in Denmark. She will formally notify Queen Margrethe later Wednesday of the agreement and is expected to present the new ministers to the monarch Thursday.

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The Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), Socialist People’s party, and Red Green Alliance are backing the Social Democrats to form the government. The negotiations took 20 days making it the longest negotiation since 1988. 

The parties mainly disagreed on Social Democrat’s hardline policies on immigration issues which Frederiksen backed saying that the policies were needed to protect the country’s welfare system. 

They support a ban on wearing burqa and niqab in public and a controversial “jewelry bill” which allows police to seize valuables from refugees to help pay costs. 

The four parties agreed to soften some tough measures on immigration, including abandoning a plan by the previous government to hold rejected asylum seekers on Lindholm, an uninhabited island. 

However, immigration will remain a bone of contention as Frederiksen needs to balance her tougher stance with the softer views of the leftist parties.

The parties also said they agreed on a plan to allow more foreign labor, on further measures to eliminate rising inequality and on a plan to create a binding law on the reduction of emissions.

Following spending cuts by successive governments to reduce the public deficit, which has resulted in an erosion of traditional welfare services, the Social Democrats campaigned for an increase in spending and making businesses and the wealthy pay more toward welfare through higher taxes.

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