Polling stations across Denmark have closed in a national election that is expected to change the Scandinavian country’s political landscape, as The country’s former prime minister, Lars Löck Rasmussen, looked set to become a kingmaker.
There was no clear majority for the left-wing or ruling right-wing opposition in Tuesday’s election, according to a polling day.
The result – for the first time in more than four decades – could pave the way for a government to be formed across the traditional left-right divide.
An opinion poll by public radio DR showed, after polls closed, that Danish centre-left parties led by Social Democratic Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen are expected to win 85 seats in the 179-seat parliament, losing their majority.
Observers earlier predicted that neither the center-left nor the center-right would get a majority, the 90 seats in the Folketing Legislature.
That could leave Rasmussen, who left his party to create a new one this year, as kingmaker with his votes needed to form a new government.
The election came due to the “mink crisis” that Denmark has been embroiled in since the government decided in November 2020 to cull nearly 15 million mink in the country over fears of a mutated strain of the novel coronavirus.
However, the decision turned out to be illegal, and a party supporting Frederiksen’s minority Social Democrat government threatened to bring it down unless it called for elections to restore voter confidence.
More than four million Danish voters can choose from 14 parties. Domestic themes dominated the campaign, from tax cuts and the need to hire more nurses to financially support Danes amid inflation and higher energy prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At least three politicians are vying for the position of prime minister.
They include Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen – who led Denmark through the COVID-19 pandemic and collaborated with the opposition to boost Danish defense spending in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as two centre-right opposition politicians – Jakob Eliman Jensen, the liberal leader, and Søren Pape Poulsen, who He leads the Conservative Party.
We fight to the end. “It will be a close election,” Frederiksen said after the vote north of Copenhagen. “I’m an optimist but I’m not sure of anything.”
Rasmussen, the former liberal leader, established his New Centrist party in June.
According to previous polls, moderates could receive up to 10 percent of the vote. He has hinted that he might see a ruling coalition with the Social Democrats and could also be considered a candidate for prime minister.
In the center right, two new parties wanting to limit immigration are seeking entry into Parliament and may expel a similar third group that had a key role in previous governments by pushing for stricter immigration rules without being in a governing coalition.
They include the Danish Democrats, who were founded in June by hard-line former immigration minister Inger Stojberg.
In 2021, Stojberg was convicted by the rarely used impeachment court to order in 2016 the separation of asylum-seeking spouses if one of the partners was a minor.
She has served her 60-day sentence and is now eligible to run again. Polls organizers said her party could get around 7 percent of the vote.
That could threaten the once-strong populist, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, which has collapsed in recent months amid internal wrangling and hovered around the 2 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.
In 2015, the party received 21.1% of the vote.
Stojberg’s party is similar to another party – the small, nationalist, anti-immigration New Right party – already in parliament. They called for a broad government from the center-right.
Frederiksen has led a minority, one-party democratic socialist government since 2019 when she removed Rasmussen.
Of the 179 seats in the Danish Parliament, two each come from the two autonomous regions of Denmark – the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Danish Radio said on Tuesday that voting took place exceptionally on Monday in the Faroe Islands – Tuesday is a public holiday there – and one seat went to the left of the center and another to the right of the center in Denmark. Voting takes place in Greenland on Tuesday.
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