Justice minister’s exit causes cabinet shake-up

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is forced to make her eighth cabinet reshuffle in three years after Justice Minister Karen Hækkerup leaves politics for a job heading up the food and agriculture lobby.

Justice minister’s exit causes cabinet shake-up
Karen Hækkerup has accepted a job with the food and agriculture lobby group Landbrug og Fødevarer. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/
Karen Hækkerup announced on Friday that she would leave her post as Denmark’s justice minister and take on leadership of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council (Landbrug og Fødevarer). 
The move set off a chain reaction that will see Mette Frederiksen become the new justice minister, leaving her current position as the nation’s employment minister to Henrik Dam Kristensen. Hækkerup, Frederiksen and Kristensen are all member of PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s Social Democrats.
Hækkerup has served in three different ministerial roles under Thorning-Schmidt. She started as the the minister for social affairs and integration before becoming the food and agriculture minister and ultimately shifting to the justice minister position in December 2013. 
“It has been three fantastic years as a minister in Helle’s government. Helle is a brave and visionary prime minister and I am proud to be on her team. We have delivered long-term solutions and substantial improvements for many people, but now I am stepping down because I have received an offer that I couldn’t say no to,” Hækkerup said. 
With her move to the agriculture lobby group, Hækkerup will also give up her mandate in parliament. 
Hækkerup’s departure is the latest in a long line of cabinet shake-ups under Thorning-Schmidt. 
When the prime minister officially presents her new team later on Friday, it will be the eighth time she has made changes to her cabinet. Hækkerup is one of 16 ministers to leave their post under Thorning-Schmidt and the second justice minister to do so. 
Her predecessor, Morten Bødskov, was forced to step down for lying to parliament about the reason that a trip to Christiania by parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee was cancelled.
Hækkerup leaves her post at a time when the national debate over immigration and asylum policies – which fall under the Justice Ministry – have reached a fever pitch, with most analysts predicting that it will only get worse in the run-up to an election that must be called no later than September 2015.

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