Opposition leader slams 'negative campaign'

The Local Denmark
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Opposition leader slams 'negative campaign'
Liberal Party leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen meeting voters at Copenhagen's Nørreport station on Thursday morning. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix 2015)

The leader of Denmark’s opposition has attacked Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt for running a negative campaign which “copy-pasted” key Liberal Party policies, in a brief interview with The Local on the morning of the country’s election.


“When you send a letter to 1.5 million Danish households totally misrepresenting my policies, claiming that we would cut down spending on health and the elderly, when the truth is absolutely the opposite. I would define that as negative,” Lars Løkke Rasmussen complained as he greeted voters at Copenhagen’s Nørreport station on Thursday morning. “Our campaign has definitely not been negative. Her campaign has been. Yes.” 
Rasmussen said he was feeling “confident, happy and full of energy” in the final hours of an intense three-week campaign that has seen his centre-left demolish his clear initial lead. 
He accused the Social Democrats of mimicking the Liberal Party’s positions.
“One funny thing about the campaign is that my opponent and me both have had the liberal party’s policy as the main topic of all discussions,” he said. “She’s been very negative about our messages and then on the other hand she’s copy-pasted a lot of our policies. She realises that we have advocated a policy that’s supported by the majority of Danes.” 
A weighted average of polls by the daily Berlingske on Wednesday showed the ruling bloc garnering 49.3 percent of the vote with 50.7 percent for the opposition coalition, which includes the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) that is credited with around 18 percent of voter sympathies.
In the interview, Løkke Rasmussen outlined the limits to the Danish People’s Party’s influence should the Liberal Party form the next government, asserting that a future Liberal-led government would not back UK calls for treaty change in Europe, however much pressure came from its eurosceptic allies. 
“That won’t happen,” he said on possible Danish backing for amendments. “No I don’t think so and honestly speaking, I think the same goes for the UK. The idea of making treaty amendments, that’s a very difficult idea.” 
He described the four-party deal, Danish Welfare in Europe, agreed with the Danish People's Party earlier this month as a "compromise" which pointed the way to the approach that the parties would take to European Union reform in a future Liberal government, backing Britain but stopping short of advocating treaty change. 
He stressed however, that a future Liberal-led government would be highly supportive of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU reform project. 
“It will be a very supportive government,” he said. “I made an agreement with the top four parties last week where I offered my support to Cameron because I think we have common interests.”
He reiterated that Denmark was primarily concerned with changing how long it takes EU citizens moving between member states to gain  access to welfare benefits.  
“What I’ve suggested is that we form an alliance between those countries that want to create a new balance between the freedom to move with the freedom to claim,” he said. 


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